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Facts About...

CONJUNCTIVITIS (PINK EYE)


What is it?

Pink eye is an infection of the covering of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. It may be caused by both bacteria and viruses. Sometimes, pink eye can also be caused by allergies, exposure to chemicals, smoke and other irritants, injury or excessive rubbing.

How is it spread?

Pink eye spreads from one person to another. Tears, pus, touching the infected eye or runny nose of an infected person, sneezing or coughing can spread the bacteria.

What do I look for?

Symptoms include a scratchy feeling or pain in the eyes, often with lots of tearing. The whites of the eyes are pink or red. Pus or a discharge from the eyes makes eyelids sticky during sleep.

How is it treated?

Different kinds of pink eye are treated and managed differently, so it’s important to find out as soon as possible from a doctor if the pink eye is caused by a virus or bacteria. When pink eye is caused by bacteria, treatment with antibiotics is necessary. Antibiotics are not effective when pink eye is caused by a virus. A warm, cloth can be used to help remove the crust from around the eyes; the cloth should not be reused.

Children with pink eye should stay home until seen by a doctor/health care provider. If the pink eye is caused by bacteria, the child can return to school or child care after the antibiotic has been given for 24 hours, to prevent the spread of the disease. Children with viral pink eye can return to school or child care after they have been seen by a doctor/health care provider.

How can I protect myself?

June 30, 2016