How to Identify Pinkeye and Prevent Spreading

2013Sep18_GenPhama_AWe all get an eyelash in our eye from time to time, causing a little discomfort and a momentary concern for a parent, but it’s nothing compared to the redness and swelling that comes from pinkeye. Formally known as Conjunctivitis, pinkeye is a common concern for school nurses and the parents of school-aged children alike.

Although it’s reputed as a common virus for children, pinkeye is extremely contagious and can spread among adult workplaces just as easily as middle school classrooms. Dry eyes, viruses and bacteria, allergens like pet dander, and irritants like chlorine in a swimming pool cause the eye to literally become pink or reddish with inflammation.

Viral vs. Bacterial Pinkeye- What’s the difference?

One fundamental difference between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis is the cause. While a viral case may be caused by an upper respiratory infection or herpes, a bacterial infection is caused by gonorrhea, staph infection or another bacteria entering the eye. While some of the symptoms are the same, some signs clearly point to one type. A healthcare professional will be the best source for determining which type of pinkeye you may have.

What are the Symptoms?

Because there are multiple different causes for conjunctivitis, the signs and symptoms can vary. According to the CDC, a typical case of pinkeye may include:

  • Pink or red color in the whites of the eyes

  • Sensitivity to bring light

  • Swelling around the eye and especially on the eyelid

  • An itching and/or burning sensation

  • The feeling that something is in the eye, creating the urge to rub the eye

  • Watery eyes and lots of tearing

  • Crusting of eyelids or eyelashes, especially in the morning

  • A pus discharge

  • Cold or flu symptoms

Preventing the Spread of Pinkeye…

Most cases go away without treatment, but some cases can be more severe and require treatment. If you think you may have conjunctivitis, see a healthcare professional and follow these tips.

  1. Avoid direct contact with others.

  2. Do not touch your eyes and be sure to wash your hands often.

  3. Depending on whether the cause is viral or bacterial, you may need to wait 3-10 days before returning to school or work.

  4. Never share towels or handkerchiefs, and throw away tissues after each use.

  5. Disinfect countertops, sinks, and doorknobs.

  6. Do not wear eye makeup until you are fully healed, so you don’t reinfect yourself.

  7. Do not wear contact lenses until the infection is completely gone and start with a fresh pair.

  8. Do not share eye makeup, glasses or contact solutions.

In many cases, pinkeye can be treated with over-the-counter and at-home remedies to ease the discomfort as your condition improves. To learn more about your options, visit [company_short] or call [phone_main] to speak with your local pharmacy experts today.

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