If you have kids under five, you’ve definitely had pinkeye recently. And even if you don’t have kids under five, well, you’ve probably still had pinkeye sometime in the past year.
Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most easily spread (and noticeable) infections for humans. It results for a variety of reasons: viruses, bacteria, allergies, or exposure to different chemicals (like chlorine or cosmetics). This infection causes swelling in the conjunctiva: the tissue that lines the inside of your eyelid and covers the white part of your eye. Some of its symptoms include watery or burning eyes, itchiness, sensitivity to light, and discharge.
Because pinkeye can be caused by many different things, it’s important to identify the cause of your pinkeye before beginning treatment. If you are suffering from lots of eye discharge, you probably have a bacterial infection, and should go to your doctor for antibiotics. If you have a viral infection, what you need is rest and time. You can use eye drops and hot or cold packs to help with the discomfort and inflammation, but antibiotics won’t help. (They might actually make the problem worse.) If your pinkeye is prompted by an allergic or chemical reaction, you need to isolate the cause of this reaction and remove it.
You shouldn’t. Because pinkeye is often caused by the presence of foreign objects in your eye, you should wear glasses while you have pinkeye. Not only do the chemicals in contact lenses sometimes cause pinkeye, but the pressure of the contact on your eye can act as a breeding ground for whatever bacteria is messing with your eye. You can start wearing your contacts again 24 hours after your eye is no longer pink or experiencing discharge. Make sure to clean your lens case and dispose of any lenses that came into contact with your eyes while you had pinkeye to prevent future infection.
Prevention is the most important step when it comes to any illness or infection, including pinkeye. To reduce your risk of getting pinkeye, you should wash your hand with soap and warm water often (especially if you’re around someone who has pinkeye), refrain from sharing items that you use on or near your eyes (like pillowcases, wash towels, makeup brushes and makeup, etc.), never touch your eyes with dirty hands, and be sure to follow your doctor’s protocols when it comes to your contacts (especially when it comes to swimming in contacts). If you wear contacts, it’s important that you buy high quality contacts from places like Simple Contacts, and change them out regularly. While pinkeye is mostly mild, it can cause more serious issues, which is why it’s so important to prevent and treat it accordingly.
by Insider Envy Staff