Pink eye, otherwise known as conjunctivitis, is a frequently encountered eye illness, particularly in children. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or sensitivities to ingredients found in cosmetics, pollen, and chlorine in swimming pools, or other chemicals, which touch your eyes. Certain kinds of pink eye might be highly communicable and quickly cause a pink eye outbreak at schools and in the office.
Conjunctivitis ensues when the thin clear layer of tissue protecting the white part of the eye, or conjunctiva, gets inflamed. A good clue that you have pink eye is if you notice eye itching, redness, discharge or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes in the morning. Conjunctivitis infections can be divided into three main categories: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.
Viral conjunctivitis is often a result of a similar virus to that which makes us have those familiar red and watery eyes, runny nose and sore throat of the common cold. Symptoms of the viral form of conjunctivitis will usually last from one to two weeks and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to relieve some of the discomfort by applying soothing drops or compresses. The viral form of pink eye is transmittable until it's gone, so in the meanwhile practice excellent hygiene, remove discharge and avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your child has viral conjunctivitis, you will need to keep him/her at home from school for three days to a week until they are no longer contagious.
Bacterial pink eye is caused by a common bacterial infection that enters the eye often from something external entering the eye that carries the bacteria, such as a dirty finger. This type of conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic cream or drops. Usually you should notice the symptoms disappearing after just a few days of treatment, but always be sure to adhere to the complete prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not transmittable. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to alleviate the symptoms of allergic pink eye, the irritant itself must be removed. Try cool compresses and artificial tears to alleviate discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines might be prescribed. When the infection lasts for an extended period, topical steroid eye drops could be prescribed.
While conjunctivitis is usually a minor condition, it can sometimes worsen into a more severe problem. Any time you think you have pink eye, be sure to see your eye doctor in order to see how to best to treat it.