You wake up in the morning, rub your eyes, stumble to the bathroom, and look into the mirror. Your sunny disposition quickly turns to worry as you squint your eyes and look closer. Your eyes are pink and you are unsure why. Integrity Urgent Care has the information you need about pink eye and whether you should be worried about this common ailment.
What is Pink Eye and how do I treat it?
Pink eye is a common term for conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the membrane of the white of the eye and the eyelid. There are three different types of conjunctivitis and each has its own treatment or course of action.
Viral conjunctivitis: This form is caused by a virus. Like any other virus, it is very contagious and includes itchy, watery eyes. This form could affect one or both eyes. Viral conjunctivitis requires no treatment, as it should run its course over several days. Relief can come from a cold washcloth held over the eyes.
Bacterial conjunctivitis: This type is the largest of concern because the bacterial infection could lead to vision issues or damage if untreated. Bacterial conjunctivitis symptoms include sticky yellow or greenish discharge from the corner of the eye. Either one or both eyes may be infected and is usually caused by contact from infected hands or items, being highly contagious. This type will need antibiotics, in the form of drops or ointments.
Allergic conjunctivitis: This form of pink eye is more of an irritant from seasonal or environmental allergens. An individual can tell if they are experiencing allergic conjunctivitis based on other allergen typical symptoms like sneezing or a runny nose, itchy and burning eyes, or some sensitivity to light. Usually, both eyes will be impacted equally in allergic conjunctivitis. Allergy medication and cool compresses can help.
Ways to Avoid Pink Eye
- Avoid sharing personal items. Makeup brushes, washcloths, tissues, and other items used on your face should be washed frequently and used by one person only.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. We recommend this to avoid a number of issues, not just pink eye.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes. Especially if you have not washed your hands, keep your hands away from your face.
- Wash your hands frequently. Make sure to use plenty of soap and hot water and dry your hands thoroughly.
- Sanitize your hands. Keep hand sanitizer accessible and use it frequently.
- Clean solid surfaces. Using an antiseptic spray to clean counters, faucets, door handles, and other frequently touched items.
- Seek a doctor’s help. If you have seasonal allergies, see a doctor to get assistance ahead of time.
- Clean and change your contact lenses. Follow your doctor’s instructions for maintaining healthy eyes when using contact lenses and even glasses.
- Wear goggles. When swimming, use goggles to protect your eyes from bacteria in the water.
Notes for Kids with Pink Eye
Children are particularly susceptible to infections of all types due to close contact with other kids. Teach your children to wash their hands often and help them wash their hands after activities, picking up from school, and other extra times they may need it. If your child is diagnosed with pink eye, notify their school so teachers can begin a deep clean of items to help contain the infection. Try to avoid contact with others for 3-5 days and continue washing hands at home. Kids are sometimes concerned about eye drops so parents.com has a few tips and tricks, including “Put the prescribed number of drops into the inner corner of the closed eyes. When your child opens his eyes, the drops should run into them.”
Having a doctor check you and your family out for pink eye is a perfect scenario of the type of visit Integrity Urgent Care Clinics were created for. Walk in to see a health provider from 8 am to 8 pm at one of our convenient locations or contact us today.
Sources: https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/conjunctivitis.htm, https://www.parents.com/health/allergies/prevention/how-to-give-eye-drops/