May 182012

Conjunctivitis also known as Pink Eye, is caused by any number of things including bacteria, viruses, allergies and irritating agents that cause the covering of the eyeball known as the conjunctiva to become red. The eyes look blood-shot and may or may not itch. The eyelids may be stuck together in the morning due to tearing or drainage. Warm compresses to clean the eyes and ocular decongestants are the treatment of choice. A doctor may need to treat the underlying cause.

Conjunctivitis is an extremely contagious eye infection that should be treated promptly by antibiotics. Because it is so contagious extra care should be taken to avoid spreading of infectious organisms.

  • Wash your hands before and after touching near the eye or the eye it’s self.
  • Wear gloves to apply medication for others and then wash your hands. Gloves are never a substitute for hand washing, especially when dealing with eye infections.
  • Use medication exactly as ordered and for as long as ordered.
  • Instruct your parent to not rub their eye.
  • Use a single tissue or damp cotton ball to gently wipe drainage from each eye. Start at the inside corner and sweep outward then discard immediately. Never use the same tissue or cotton ball on both eyes to avoid cross-contamination. Wash your hands.
  • Warm or cool compresses, whichever feels better, will help to decrease discomfort and can be used several times a day. Keep cloths separate from other laundry and wash in hot water. Wash your hands.
  • Wash pillowcases in hot water and change them at least daily, more often if you see drainage. Once the infection is cleared up, wash all the bed linens. Wash your hands after handling linens.
  • Towels, face cloths, handkerchiefs or any other material that comes in the contact with the face should be kept separate from other clothing and washed in hot soapy water. Wash your hands after handling.
  • No swimming, no contact lenses and no eye makeup until your eyes have been clear for at least two days.
  • Discard any eye makeup, especially mascara and eyeliner, that might have become contaminated.

It is a bit of extra work but worth the effort to prevent the spread of this painful infection.


  12 Responses to “Conjunctivitis”

  1. I have had this conjunctivitis before, specially when swimming, so stop the swimming is not my antidote. Thanks for tips.
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  2. Why would you want to wipe from the inside out rather than from the outside in?

    • I’ve never really thought about it before but I came up with three reasons: 1. If you push from the outer corner to the inner corner you could possibly push contaminated fluid into the tearducts that drain into your nose and spread infection. 2. Dried bits of fluid could go into the ducts and clog them. 3. All that gunk is harder to clean out if you push it toward the inner eye. Thanks for that question.

  3. Suzanne,
    good tips on how to deal with conjunctivitis. The reminder about changing pillow cases daily is very helpful.

    Covert Hypnosis: 3 Confidence Building Techniques

  4. This was a big problem at the homeless shelte where I worked.And you are correct it is very catching…good advice here.
    Sonya Lenzo

  5. I again learn something from you – your Post – appreciate the information about Pink Eye.

    Lyle R. Johnson – aka The “Wiz”

    Question the Sales Question

  6. Suzzane, thank you fo sharing how to deal with pink eye and also to know how not to get pink eye.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Body language of disagreement
    Now go implement!

  7. Hi Suzanne,
    Information eveyone wants to know when they have conjunctivistis. I always call it sand in the eye. Because that’s how it always felt, when I was growing up.
    Looking forward to tomorrow!
    Would you like to understand about caregiving depression?

  8. As one who has had it before I can say I would want everyone to take all precautions.

    Sales Expert

  9. The hospital where I work will send someone home immediately with a positive for “pink eye” : it’s THAT contagious.
    bE wELL.

  10. Hi Nurse Suzanne,

    Blessedly, I have never had Pink Eye. I remember the prevention tips about it back when I was in High School was to avoid sharing mascara between teen girls. Now we need to be careful about it in our older elder years as well.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell, CHt, RH
    Online Dating Relationship Fantasy or Fact?

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