Pink Eye is a condition in which the transparent membrane that protects the white part of your eye turns pink or reddish and starts itching. In most cases, this happens because of the inflammation in this part. The condition is also called conjunctivitis. And it is mostly the result of a viral or bacterial infection. Sometimes, an allergic reaction can also cause pink eye.
But is the condition contagious? And if yes, how does it spread? What are some of the ways you can prevent it? And if you get it, what do you need to do?
These are some of the very common questions people have in mind about this condition. And to help you find the right answers, we talked to some of the best online doctors in the country.
Here is all we found out.
Is Conjunctivitis Contagious?
This is probably the most dreaded question regarding this condition. And the simple and direct answer to this is “yes.” Conjunctivitis is contagious. And it spreads very quickly. In fact, this is the reason why the condition has got such a notorious reputation.
But the thing to note here is that conjunctivitis isn’t always transmissible. In some cases, it may not communicate at all. It actually depends on what has caused the condition. You’ll get to know more about it in the next section.
Types of Conjunctivitis
There are total three types of conjunctivitis that are found in humans. And the differentiation is based on what causes the condition. Let’s take a look at them.
This particular type of conjunctivitis is the result of the infection caused by the bacteria, such as streptococcal or staphylococcal. These types of bacteria, when collected inside the eye, start producing pus or some thick discharge that causes your eyelids and eyelashes to stick together. And this can happen in one or both of your eyes.
This particular type of conjunctivitis is very contagious. And it usually spreads when infected hands, or some other items that carry the bacteria, touches the eye.
The viral conjunctivitis is caused by the same virus that causes the common cold. And it makes your eyes very watery and teary. This type of conjunctivitis is also easily transmissible and can communicate via coughing or sneezing.
Allergic conjunctivitis is nothing but a response to some allergic substance, like pollen or dust, entering your body. When an allergy-causing substance enters your eyes, your body starts the production of antibodies, which can lead to the development of several allergy-related symptoms, including pink eyes.
This particular kind of conjunctivitis may cause itching and inflammation in the eyes. And it may also accompany stuffed or runny nose with it. But in most cases, the allergic conjunctivitis isn’t usually contagious.
Most Common Symptoms of Pink Eyes
If we revisit the most common symptoms of pink eyes, they include:
- Pus or some thick discharge
- Feeling of dirt in the eye
- Sensitivity to too much light
- Eyes constantly watering
The condition may occur in one or both eyes. And in some serious cases, it may also cause the lymph node near your ear to swell. This is your body’s natural response to fight the infection. And once the infection is gone, the node shrinks automatically.
How Pink Eye is Diagnosed?
You can very easily diagnose your pink eyes yourself by looking for the above symptoms. But it is not always this simple. Conjunctivitis can sometimes also be somewhat complicated. And thus, it’s better to talk to a doctor. An early and correct diagnose of this condition can help you reduce the symptoms more conveniently and also lower the chances of transmitting it to others.
A qualified doctor or an eye care professional can easily diagnose conjunctivitis by conducting a simple exam of the affected eye. During this exam, he may ask you if you are experiencing any symptoms like:
- Blurred vision
- Sore throat
- Runny Nose
Pink eye is usually not a serious condition. But you should definitely see a doctor if you experience usual conjunctivitis symptoms along with one or more of the following:
- Weak Immunity.
- Medium to High-intensity pain in the eye.
- Some other pre-existing conditions of the eye.
How Long Does Pink Eyes Last?
The duration for which your conjunctivitis lasts depends on the type you have and what treatment method you are using for it. The average time it takes to completely go away varies between a few days to up to around two weeks.
If your pink eye is the result of a virus infection, it usually takes around 7 to 14 days to recover without any special treatment. And if it is bacterial, it may even start improving within 24 hours if you are taking proper medications. Without any medicines too, a bacterial conjunctivitis may clear up within 10 days.
How to Treat Conjunctivitis?
Same as the duration, the treatment of conjunctivitis also depends on the type you have.
- Viral Conjunctivitis: If your conjunctivitis is due to a viral infection, just like the common cold, you’ll have to let it complete its course as there are no medications available for it. However, there are a few things that can help you get some relief from its symptoms. These include using some eye drops for lubrication, applying cold or hot compresses, and consuming decongestants, etc.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis: In the case of bacterial conjunctivitis, a doctor usually prescribes eye drops or ointments that contain antibiotics. Taking oral antibiotics, in this case, isn’t really necessary.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis: You can take anti-allergy medications in the case of pink eye due to some allergic substance.
Natural Treatment Methods
Nothing can be greater than overcoming your medical condition using some natural methods. And with the pink eye too, you have this option. In the case of conjunctivitis, consuming probiotics and sticking to a diet that has a rich quantity of vitamins A, B, C and K can really help you ward the infection off. And if you have a bacterial infection, here are a few things you may do to ease some of your symptoms:
- Consume zinc supplements
- Wash your eyes frequently with clean water
- Wash your sheets
- Hydrate yourself
- Get enough sleep
How to Prevent Pink Eyes?
Here are a few of the tips you should follow to reduce the risk of getting pink eyes for yourself as well as others near you:
- Don’t share your personal items, such as towels, tissues, etc., with anyone.
- Keep your mouth and nose covered while coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t touch or rub your eyes too often.
- Keep a hand sanitizer with you.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Keep the places that you use often, such as tables, chairs, mobile phones, faucet handles, etc. clean.
- If you use contact lens, don’t ignore the safety guidelines. Also, switch to single-day use contacts, if possible.
- While swimming, prefer wearing goggles to prevent bacteria in the water from entering your eyes.
Conjunctivitis, in general, isn’t a very major problem. Plus, with the help of the above-given tips, you can easily avoid it. However, you should also not ignore the fact that anyone can catch this infection. And if you do get it, you should immediately talk to a doctor. There are some very best doctors online who are available to help you find the right remedy for your condition. Given this, you don’t even have to worry about leaving the house. Just give them a call, and you can get the right solution for your condition without any hassle.