Pink eye is a common medical problem and a frequent reason for medical visits, especially for school-age kids. In fact, research shows that about 6 million Americans seek medical care every year for pink eye, which in turn causes kids to miss about 3 million days of school annually.
Also called conjunctivitis, pink eye develops when the clear membrane covering your inner eyelid and the surface of your eye (the conjunctiva) becomes infected by a virus or bacterium. While most cases of pink eye resolve without complications, the infection is highly contagious in the meantime.
With locations in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, ABC Children's Eye Specialists offers prompt, effective treatment for pink eye, providing relief for itching, burning, and other symptoms. Take a moment as our team offers simple tips to help prevent your child from spreading — or ever contracting — pink eye.
Practice good hand hygiene
Washing your hands frequently is one of the most important things you can do to keep from spreading pink eye. After touching or cleaning your eyes or eyelids, wash for 20 seconds or more with warm water and soap to get rid of germs that could otherwise easily be transferred to other people or surfaces.
Use tissues or disposable wipes
Cleaning the eyelids helps reduce germs and remove crusty buildup. Use disposable wipes and tissues to avoid contaminating washcloths or towels. Use — and promptly dispose of — tissues to blow your nose, too.
Avoid touching the eye area
Pink eye can make your eyes itchy, but it’s important to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. First, you can make the irritation worse, and second, you can easily pick up germs that can then be spread to other people.
If you must touch your eyes, wash your hands before and after doing so to avoid transferring germs to others.
Don’t use contacts while infected
Contacts can make pink eye symptoms worse and also prolong your infection. Swap contacts for glasses until after the infection clears up.
Frequently disinfecting surfaces helps eliminate germs that could otherwise be spread to others when they touch the same surface. Pay special attention to desk surfaces, counters, light switches, doorknobs, keys, remote controls, and anything with a touchpad or keyboard.
Don’t share personal items
Don’t share towels, sheets, pillows, or makeup. Wash bed and bath linens frequently to kill germs and prevent reinfection.
Follow your doctor’s advice
Depending on what’s causing your pink eye, our team can prescribe drops and other treatments to relieve uncomfortable symptoms and eliminate the infection.
Make sure to use any medication exactly as prescribed and to follow other instructions, which could include staying home from school or other activities until the infection clears.
Don’t ignore pink eye symptoms
While bacterial and viral infections are very common causes of pink eye, keep in mind that conjunctivitis can also develop from allergies or irritants, like air pollution. These types of pink eye aren’t contagious, but they still require treatment to keep your child’s eyes healthy.
If your child has symptoms of pink eye — like eye itching or burning, pink eyes or eyelids, excessive tearing, blurry vision, or crusty eyelids — it’s important to call the office and schedule an evaluation so we can begin treatment right away.
To learn more about pink eye treatment and how we can help protect your child’s vision, call our offices to book an appointment with the team at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists today.