Have you or your child ever woken up with red, bloodshot, itchy and watery eyes? You may have been experiencing Conjunctivitis, better known as Pink Eye. With the school year quickly approaching, we wanted to put together some of the risk factors and treatments to help you avoid Pink Eye.
Pink eye is most common in preschool and school age children, but surprisingly college students are also highly susceptible to the infection. Additionally, daycare workers and teachers are also at risk for Pink Eye due to how closely they work with children and students in the classroom.
Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, can affect one or both eyes, and comes in several strands: viral conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis and allergic conjunctivitis.
- Viral Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, but can often clear up in a few days without the patient having to seek medical treatment. To relieve symptoms, apply a cold, wet compress to the eyes several times times a day.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis caused by a bacteria that produces a sticky eye discharge that can sometimes cause the eyelids to stick together. This bacterial strand is most commonly spread through direct contact and requires a visit to the doctor for an antibiotic eye drop or ointment.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis results from eye irritants that could be seasonal, such as pollen; or year round, such as dust or animal fur. Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis include itchy, burning sensation in the eyes and is often accompanied by a stuffy or runny nose. Unlike Viral and Bacterial Conjunctivitis, Allergic Conjunctivitis is not contagious because it is an allergic reaction. To remedy this form of Pink Eye, take an over the counter allergy medicine. Contact your doctor for more information on what treatment plan is right for you.
While Pink Eye is not always avoidable, there are several precautions you can take reduce your risk of infection.
- Do not share items that could easily be contaminated, such as washcloths, tissues, or towels.
- Avoid touching and rubbing your eyes.
- Wash your hand frequently, especially when in a public area, and consider keeping hand sanitizer on you in case you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Frequently clean surfaces that are susceptible to germs and bacteria, such as countertops, vanities, and handles.
- If you know you or your child suffer from seasonal allergies, contact your doctor to make sure you know the best plan for your to combat symptoms before they arise.
Following these It can sometimes be difficult to self-diagnose the type of Pink Eye reaction, so if any of these symptoms occur immediately contact your doctor. As always, our office is here as a resource to get your little one feeling better, faster.