A case of pink eye can be painful, unsightly and frustrating. Luckily some fairly straightforward preventive steps can minimize your risks.
Yesterday's Daily Tip discussed the symptoms of pink eye and who is most vulnerable. Today, we list simple ways to prevent this highly contagious infection of the eyelid and eyeball:
- Wash your hands well, often, and always before and after applying antibiotic drops.
- Don't touch your eyes with your hands.
- If being treated with antibiotic drops, never let the antibiotic bottle touch the affected eye.
- Use a new towel and washcloth every day.
- Change pillowcases often.
- Throw away any eye makeup used while infected, including mascara.
- Don't share cosmetics, washcloths and eye products with others.
- Keep infected children out of school or daycare until a few days after treatment begins or the infection clears up.
While viral pink eye will resolve on its own in a few weeks without treatment, it can be difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis.
Consequently, many doctors prescribe antibiotic eye drops to anyone with pink eye - the antibiotics won't be effective against viral infections, but they may help prevent a secondary bacterial infection. With bacterial conjunctivitis, the antibiotic eye drops usually cause symptoms to clear up within a few days. Pink eye caused by allergies is usually treated with allergy medications and eye drops that relieve itchy eyes.