When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Worry About Pink Eye

When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Worry About Pink Eye 150 150 Tony Guo

When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Worry About Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the outermost layer of the eyeball and its surrounding membranes. There are many causes of pink eye, but in most cases it’s due to either an infection or an allergy. The most common symptom of pink eye, whether it’s caused by bacteria or an allergen, is redness in the eyes accompanied by discharge that usually looks like pus and crusts over during sleep.

What is pink eye
Also called conjunctivitis, pink eye is an infection of your eyes’ mucus membranes that can cause redness, itching, tearing and discharge. Although it’s also commonly referred to as pink eye, it’s not usually caused by a disease affecting your eye’s retina—the light-sensitive lining at back of your eyeball. Typically, conjunctivitis is caused by either a virus or bacteria. Some types of pink eye can be spread through close contact with someone who has an infection.

Does it spread?
Like other common eye infections, pink eye is highly contagious. And in many cases, you can catch it from simply sharing a surface—like a towel or pillowcase—with an infected person. It can also spread through public swimming pools and bathhouses, as well as by touching your eyes with your hands. However, since it’s so easy to spread infection to others when you have pink eye, it’s best not to go anywhere until you’ve gotten treatment.

How to treat it at home
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a common infection of your eyes. It’s usually caused by viruses that spread easily from person to person. Home remedies can help relieve pink eye symptoms, but it’s best to visit your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve in a few days. Don’t try to treat pink eye on your own; there are many contagious types of pink eye and some are extremely harmful.

When to see an Urgent Care doctor
If you notice symptoms of pink eye but can still see fine, it’s likely a viral infection that will resolve on its own. Viral conjunctivitis usually causes inflammation of only one eye; besides redness, there may be some discharge or crusting around your eyelid. If you have blurred vision, pain in your eyes and frequent tearing, those are classic signs that you could have an infection like bacteria or parasites.

How to avoid getting it in the first place
Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your face or eyes, especially after using public restrooms, handling any bodily fluids, or changing diapers. Once you get pink eye, wash your hands regularly to prevent it from spreading to other people.

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