Pink Eye Prevention
‘Tis the season… to prevent pink eye!
Just as many of us tend to get the cold or flu in the winter season, it is possible for those very germs to spread to your eye and result in a form of pink eye. Technically, pink eye is caused by a viral infection; but a common misconception is that many people term any irritated red eye as “pink eye.” Today, we’ll focus on the official viral “pink eye,” or viral conjunctivitis, as it is one of the most common conditions we see during these cold winter months.
The typical appearance of a viral conjunctivitis is a reddish-pink appearance originating from the conjunctiva, which is the clear stretchy lining that covers the whites of your eyes and the insides of your eyelids. At times, you may also experience excessive tearing and irritation. It is highly contagious, so follow these tips to help prevent the spread!
- Wash your hands frequently
- Refrain from touching your infected eye or the area around it (And if you do, wash your hands right away)
- Wash your linens and towels
- For children, be sure to alert the school teacher so that they can disinfect classroom areas accordingly – ensure your children are properly washing their hands
- Contact lens wearers should discontinue contact lens wear entirely until the condition is resolved – throw out any old contacts worn prior, along with their respective cases
- Throw out any eye make up you were using prior to the eye infection
- Keep a portable hand sanitizer readily available so you can use it on the go
- Do not share your personal towels, sheets, or eye make up
- Frequently disinfect the bathrooms and kitchen counter tops, door handles and faucets at home/work/school
- Disinfect any phones, computer keyboards/mouses that you use or share
Remember to be cognizant of any public or shared areas. Viral conjunctivitis typically lasts 7-10 days, but you are also contagious 3-5 days before noticing any symptoms and 3-5 days after initiating treatment. You can expect a 2-3 week “danger zone” of being contagious to others. This makes prevention even trickier, so it’s crucial to practice good general hygiene throughout this time of year especially. Viral conjunctivitis typically resolves on its own with time, but you want to make sure you are diagnosed properly, as not all red eyes are created equally. If you are experiencing any redness or irritation in your eyes, be sure to make an appointment so that you can receive proper recommendations and treatment.