Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) are contagious and can easily spread from person to person. The only time conjunctivitis is not contagious is when it’s caused by allergies or irritants like smoke or dust. Symptoms typically include redness and swelling, watery eyes, discharge, irritation and crusting on the eyelids or eyelashes.
Because of how contagious conjunctivitis is, you will be expected to stay home from work or school until your symptoms improve. This can be a huge inconvenience, especially if you have a viral form that can take up to two weeks to get better. Obviously, you want to do what you can to prevent others in the home from contracting pink eye.
Below are some of the best preventive steps to take to avoid conjunctivitis.
Tips to Follow When You Have Pink Eye
If you’re the one with pink eye, there are effective ways to reduce the spread. Here are the precautions our eye specialists recommend taking:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
- Wipe away discharge from the eyes with a warm cloth or fresh cotton ball
- Wash pillowcases, sheets, towels and washcloths often and in hot water
- Stop wearing contact lenses until your doctor says it’s okay
- Clean your eyeglasses and sunglasses
- Do not share personal items; do not swim in pools
What to Do When Someone Else Has Pink Eye
If you are around someone who has conjunctivitis, you’ll want to follow these tips to protect yourself from contracting the virus or infection:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water
- Avoid touching your eyes
- Do not share personal items with the infected person
How to Avoid Getting Sick Again
Once conjunctivitis is out of your home, you’ll want to do what you can to avoid re-infection. Throw away any face makeup or makeup brushes you used while infected. If you wear contacts, throw away your bottle of solution and lens case. Also replace your contacts with a fresh pair. Finally, clean your eyeglasses and sunglasses before wearing them again.
Some people are prone to getting pink eye. If you’re experiencing recurring pink eye infections, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. It’s possible that you have an underlying illness that’s preventing your body from fighting the virus. A culture or biopsy may be necessary to determine the root cause.
Empire Retina Consultants treats severe cases of conjunctivitis, as well as recurring infections. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.