Conjunctivitis or the term “pink eye” may sound scary but it is a common eye problem that can be easily treated and also avoided by following a few simple precautions.
Who can get it? Practically anyone. Yes, anyone can get pink eye, but preschoolers, schoolchildren, college students, teachers, and daycare workers are particularly more at risk. This is because they work closely with others in the classroom.
Here are some essential facts about conjunctivitis from highly experienced physicians of MD Urgent Care that you should know:
The eyes become red, itchy, and swollen. There can also be a discharge of gooey liquid from the eye. It can be of the color white, clear, green, or yellow. Conjunctivitis is also known as pinkeye because the eye’s white part turns pink or red. When the person experiences itchiness and redness in the eyes, he/she should consult a doctor as soon as possible, as pinkeye is very contagious and spreads very easily.
Conjunctivitis is caused by viruses or bacteria. Conjunctivitis spreads by touching. If a person touches the hand of the infected person, who has recently touched his eyes, also gets the infection. The infection lasts for about a week and usually goes away by itself. But if itching is very troublesome, it should be treated with medicine.
Here are some simple precautions you can take to significantly reduce your risk of getting pink eye:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially before eating.
- Keep your eyes clean. Wash any discharge from your eyes several times a day using a fresh cotton ball or paper towel. Afterward, discard the cotton ball or paper towel and wash your hands with soap and warm water.
- Wash or change your pillowcase every day until the infection goes away. When you do the laundry, clean your bed linens, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent. Keep your towels, washcloths, and pillows separate from others, or use paper towels.
- Don’t touch or rub your infected eye with your fingers. Use tissues to wipe.
- Don’t wear, and never share, eye makeup, eye drops, or contact lenses. Wear glasses until your eye heals. And throw away disposable lenses, or be sure to clean extended-wear lenses and all eyewear cases.
- Use a warm compress, such as a washcloth soaked in warm water. Put it on your eye for a few minutes, three to four times a day. This eases the pain and helps break up some of the crust that may form on your eyelashes.
- Limit eye drops. Don’t use them for more than a few days unless your eye doctor tells you to. It could make the redness worse.
- Don’t put a patch over your eye. It may worsen the infection.
- Protect your eyes from dirt and other things that irritate them.
Last but not the least, do remember that as red eye or pink eye can be a symptom of many different types of eye problems (some being quite serious), make sure you consult your doctor.
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