Pink eye or conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the membranes covering the white area of the eye. Viral and bacterial forms of pink eye are very common in children but occur in adults as well. It is a common infection that will generally go away in 7-10 days with some minor treatment mainly for discomfort. In this class we will examine the types, causes and how to get rid of pink eye fast.
The most common cause of red or an inflamed eye is a virus infection. Adenoviruses are the type of virus most commonly responsible for the infection. Viral infections generally have a clearer discharge than bacterial which will be more yellow or green. Viral pink eye is most common in late fall or early spring and can be highly contagious especially for children in school. Bacterial infections are also common and will usually require an antibiotic to clear up. You can identify pink eye if you have any of the following symptoms.
- Cold like symptoms such as sinus congestion and runny nose
- Swollen eyelids
- Pain when staring at bright lights
- Itching or burning sensation
- Drainage from the eye
Treatment of Pink Eye
- Relieve discomfort with a hot or cool compress. Use a clean washcloth soaked in warm or cool water and place over eyes for 10-15 minutes. If only one eye is infected make sure to only cover that eye to prevent the infection from spreading. Make sure to wash or discard the washcloth right after to prevent further infection.
- Use antibiotics to get rid of pink eye. Antibiotics will always be the fastest way to clear up pink eye and generally are required for bacterial infections. An eye drop or ointment will be provided by a doctor. Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before administration to prevent further infection.
- Use over the counter pink eye relief products. Most viral infections will go away in 7-10 days but you can purchase over the counter pink eye drops to relieve discomfort.
- Keep your eyes clean. Keep your eyes clean during an infection and don’t allow discharge to build up. Use a clean wash cloth to gently rub your eyelids with warm water and once again make sure to discard or clean the washcloth appropriately.
- Use antihistamines for pink eye caused by allergies. Allergies can cause pink eye and the symptoms of pink eye. You can try any over the counter antihistamines to help relive discomfort. If your pink eye doesn’t clear up or get better you will have to visit a doctor.
- Take vitamins to speed up recovery. A healthy body will always recover and fight off an infection faster. Vitamin A is one of the most important to take to help speed up recovery. A vitamin A deficiency can actually cause a pink eye infections so make sure to eat a lot of carrots!
- Get some rest. Getting plenty of sleep will help speed up any recovery.
If the pinkeye is caused by a virus you or your child can usually return to work or school in 3-5 days when the symptoms have gone away. Generally there isn’t medical treatment for viral infections so prevention and quarantine is important to prevent spreading. Home treatment of viral infections as discussed above can help relieve the discomfort as you wait for the infection to clear up.
If the pinkeye is caused by a bacterial infection you or your child can usually return to school or work 24 hours after an antibiotic has been started. Prescription antibiotic treatment generally will kill the bacteria fast.
Pink Eye Prevention
Pink eye is highly contagious and the best policy is prevention. The number one thing you can do is wash your hands. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water to kill in any bacteria on your hands. If you or your child does become effected its best to stay home from work or school until the symptoms go away to prevent infecting others. If you were using cosmetics before an infection you should throw them away as this may lead to future infections. Contact users can reuse contacts but they should be thoroughly washed after an infection.
Consulting a Physician
It’s always best to consult a physician about an eye infection to prevent misdiagnosis. There are more serious eye disorders that have similar symptoms as conjunctivitis. Severe cases of pink eye can lead to infections of the cornea and vision loss. Don’t gamble with your eyes, see a doctor.