Conjunctivitis commonly known as pink eye is an eye infection that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva or the white area of the eyeball and the eyelid. The infection can be painful causing itching and watery eyes. It may also cause a yellow colored discharge from the eyeball and crusting around the eye. Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious.
Pink eye is often passed around due to improper hand washing after using the bathroom. It is extremely common in preschool and elementary age children, although adults can contract the virus as well. A common cause of spreading pink eye is touching the face after using the bathroom and not washing hands. Children who share a hand towel and then touch their eyes also spread the virus. Adults who work with children are also at risk of pink eye and should use the same hand washing precautions to prevent infection.
Pink Eye Prevention
Preventing pink eye is a matter of proper hand washing. To prevent a variety of infections the best defense is to wash your hands several times a day after using the bathroom, before and after eating, before removing contact lenses, and after touching public surfaces. Good hand hygiene includes using warm soapy water and rubbing your hands together at a minimum of 60 seconds. Teach young children to sing the “Happy Birthday Song” while washing their hands to ensure proper technique.
If you suspect you or your child has contracted pink eye, see your doctor for an official diagnosis. Pink eye is easily treatable and usually clears up in 7-10 days. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops for pain and to treat the infection. If your child has pink eye, you may want to keep them home from school until the infection clears, so it does not spread to their classmates. A child who has pink eye should be taught to wash their hands often and should not share personal belongings while they are being treated for pink eye. If you wear contacts, you should stop wearing them while you are being treated for pink eye. Stop by your local QuestCare Urgent Care if you believe you have conjunctivitis and our staff will have you feeling better soon.