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Preventing the Spread of Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is the inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane, known as the conjunctiva, that lines the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. Pink eye is commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction, or (in babies) an incompletely opened tear duct.

Viral and Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Most cases of pink eye are caused by a virus. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can occur along with colds or symptoms of a respiratory infection. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be caused by wearing contact lenses that are not cleaned properly or are not your own. Both of these types of conjunctivitis are very contagious and can be spread through direct or indirect contact with the liquid that drains from the eye of the infected person.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is a response to an allergy-causing substance and affects both eyes. Your body produces immunoglobulin E in response to allergens, which triggers mast cells in the mucous lining of your eyes and airways to release inflammatory substances, including histamines. The release of histamines can produce allergy signs and symptoms, including pink eyes. With allergic conjunctivitis, you may experience intense itching, tearing, and inflammation of the eyes as well as sneezing and watery nasal discharge. 

Conjunctivitis from Irritation

Conjunctivitis can occur as a result of irritation, such as that from a chemical splash or foreign object in your eye. Flushing and cleaning the eye to get rid of the chemical or object can sometimes cause redness and irritation. Signs and symptoms such as watery eyes and a mucous discharge usually clear up on their own within a day. If symptoms persist, the object may still e in your eye, or you may have a scratch over the cornea. See a doctor if initial flushing does not resolve the symptoms. 

Prevention

Control the spread of pink eye by practicing good hygiene. It is no more contagious than the common cold. Wash your hands often, don’t touch your eyes with your hands, and don’t share towels or washcloths with others. Do not share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.

Greenville Health Care

Greenville Health Care is a Family Practice and walk-in Medical Clinic dedicated to serving the citizens of Greenville and surrounding counties with excellent, timely, and compassionate patient care. Contact us today!