Pink eye is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the eyeball and the inside of your eyelid. The medical term for pink eye is conjunctivitis, but the former describes it as it appears to others.
Most pink eye cases are caused by a virus, but it can also be caused by bacteria, germs, or such allergens as pollen or dust.
Pink Eye Symptoms
The symptoms of pink eye can be like other illnesses, like a cold or allergies: watery discharge, puffy or swollen eyes, irritation and light sensitivity. However, with pink eye, the symptoms start in one eye and spread to the other within a couple days due to cross contamination. You might also have an enlarged lymph node in front of the ear on the affected side.
Is Pink Eye Contagious?
Schools and day care centers often require a child diagnosed with pink eye to stay home until the condition is resolved. This is a good idea, because infectious conjunctivitis (pink eye) can be highly contagious in environments where children are in close contact with each other.
How to Treat Pink Eye
Treatment typically depends on the cause. Pink eye caused by a virus goes away in about a week without treatment. Pink eye caused by bacteria also goes away without treatment, but your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or gel if your symptoms are severe.
If it is caused by allergens, you should stay away from the things that trigger the symptoms. Your doctor may suggest that you use eye drops to help soothe redness and itching.
How to Prevent Spreading Pink Eye
To stop the spread of pink eye, take extra care to decontaminate your living and workspace. One key measure is to avoid touching your eyes or even near them. In addition, wash your hands regularly, don’t hang onto or reuse tissues, and disinfect common touch points such as faucets, door handles, kitchen appliances, computers and shared remotes or gaming controls.
If you even suspect you or a family member has pink eye, don’t take chances of the infection worsening or spreading to others. Instead contact MedCare Express for an appointment; or, for faster service, come to our Newington walk-in care center – the only one throughout Greater Hartford open 7 days a week, 8 am to 8 pm.