Pinkeye: When It’s Okay Not to Share

Pinkeye: When It’s Okay Not to Share

Pinkeye (a.k.a. conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva that is highly contagious. It causes the infected eye to become pink or red in appearance, and can also lead to crusting, scratchiness, swelling, and discharge. Since the infection is highly contagious, especially in closed communities, what can you do if everyone you know has at least one family member with pinkeye?

9 Tips for Preventing Pinkeye

1. Wash your hands regularly. It is important to wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap to keep them clean. However, if soap or water is not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand rub instead. You should also wash your hands after administering eyedrops or ointment, although you should wear gloves if you are administering eyedrops for an infected person.

2. Clean the discharge several times daily. When cleaning infected eyes, be sure to wash your hands first and then use cotton balls or a washcloth. When you are done, the cotton balls should be thrown away and the washcloth should be cleaned with detergent and hot water. Also be sure to wash your hands thoroughly when you are finished.

3. Clean eyeglasses. When cleaning the eyeglasses worn by an infected person, you must avoid contaminating shared items, such as towels. You should also never share eyeglasses with other people.

4. Do not touch your face and eyes. Touching your face and eyes will not only irritate the infection more, but spread the bacteria to other parts of your body or items.

5. Wash your sheets, towels, and pillowcases. Just like when washing washcloths, it is highly recommended to wash your sheets, towels, and pillowcases in hot water and detergent.

6. Do not share face or eye makeup and makeup brushes. When you share the listed items, you are more likely to pass on the infection to other individuals or possibly become infected yourself. It is also recommended not to use eye makeup when you are infected because you can reinfect yourself later. To avoid becoming reinfected, you should throw away your eye makeup and buy new products.

7. Do not share contacts or contact containers. If you have an infection, you should avoid wearing contacts because you may make the infection worse. You will also need to thoroughly clean your contact lenses or contact containers to avoid reinfection, or consider purchasing new products.

8. Avoid public swimming pools. Although using public swimming pools can be a fun experience, you should never go swimming if you are infected. If you are not infected, you may still want to avoid using public swimming pools if there is a breakout of pinkeye in your neighbourhood.

9. Wear eye protection. By wearing eye protection in wind, cold, or heat, you will help reduce irritation that may further worsen the infection.

Because pink eye is highly contagious, you must do everything you can to prevent becoming infected or passing it on to others. By taking great care, you can better keep yourself protected against the infection, as well as others that may come your way.

Alicia Bell is a busy mom and blogger. She enjoys sharing her health findings on health and family websites.

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