Aug 13, 2012

Oh No! Not Pinkeye!

If you've ever had pinkeye before you know how uncomfortable and distracting it can be. You use your eyes constantly when you're awake and having one that isn't doing its job properly can just stop you in your tracks. While pinkeye isn't usually very are painful, it's not a comfortable condition and you'll have a lot of attention on your eye while you have it. As well, it can be itchy, inflamed and for many a little disgusting to deal with.

What is pinkeye?

Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an infection of the eye that can be caused by viruses, bacteria or allergy irritants. Children are more likely to get pinkeye than adults and viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are the most common forms of it.

Bacterial pinkeye is often caused by staphylococci or a steptococci bacterium that has made its way into the eye. This type of pinkeye has symptoms that include swelling, pain, redness of the whites of the eye, itching and a yellowish or green discharge. Pinkeye that has been caused by a virus has a clear watery discharge along with the other symptoms mentioned above. This type of conjunctivitis usually involves some bright light sensitivity and sinus congestion as well.

How contagious is it?

Very! If there's a person in the home with pinkeye it can get transmitted to other people very easily. The person suffering from this condition needs to have their own towel to use during this time and be given strict instructions to not use any other towel. The sufferer must also keep his hands clean at all times and avoid touching his eye. This can be a very difficult instruction to follow, however, since the eye will be itchy and the person will have a tendency to rub it. It can be quite a challenge to deal with a child with conjunctivitis to keep him from transporting this condition to other family members!

What are the treatments?

If you visit your family physician you may be given prescription eye drops that will help with the infection and the irritation. It usually takes 7 to 10 days for pinkeye to completely run its course if it is viral, since antibiotics will only help with the symptoms and to help prevent an infection that could occur from rubbing the eyes so often. Bacterial conjunctivitis will require antibiotic eye drops that will help to clear up the infection within 2 to 3 days. For people that are suffering from an allergic reaction to an irritant, eye drops will be prescribed that contain antihistamines.

Article by Sharon Freeman who is a freelance writer who loves writing about health, injuries and medical services.
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