Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a common inflammation of the eye caused by a viral or bacterial infection. However, one problem with pink eye is that many people are unaware of what causes the disease, how to treat it, or how to prevent the spread of the condition. Here is some information on causes of and treatments for pink eye that dispel the myths and provide cold, hard facts.
THE ACTUAL CAUSES
Image via Flickr by Son of Groucho
There are many myths surrounding the cause and spread of pink eye that are simply untrue. Some of the fallacies include the spread of the condition by eye contact, meaning looking at each other from a distance. Some others, typically originating from teens, involve the spread of fecal matter. However, the real source of the infection is from viruses, namely the easily transmittable Adenovirus, bacterial infection (which is most prevalent in children), and allergic reaction. Most often these spread from hand-to-eye contact. Therefore, it’s important to wash your hands often, and if you think you have a condition, schedule an eye appointment immediately.
THERE IS NO CURE
Despite some websites offering “cures” for pink-eye, there is no actual cure for it. There are remedies to alleviate some of the symptoms, and these are most often suggested by eye doctors. Remedies include a cold or warm towel compress, removal of contacts, and eye drops with antihistamines to reduce fluid discharge or irritation. If the condition is viral, only time takes care of it. If the condition is bacterial, many times it clears up on its own, but often an antibiotic helps speed up the recovery time.
THERE ARE NO PREVENTATIVE DRUGS
More over-the-counter eye drops are readily available at pharmacies now than ever before. However, these are not meant to prevent pink eye, only to limit its irritating symptoms. Therefore, once you have it, it’s best to stay away from others for at least 24 hours. If your child gets it, remind him not to touch the eye and do his laundry as soon as possible to prevent others from catching it.
HAND SANITIZER WON’T CUT IT
Hand sanitizer is a newer, more simple way to kill germs rather than the traditional soap and water method. However, many of the bacteria and viruses that cause pink eye are resistant to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Therefore, it’s integral that you use soap as often as possible and teach children to do the same. It’s a simple method to prevent the disease.
PINK EYE GOES AWAY ON ITS OWN
This is the only truth. Whether it’s viral or bacterial, it goes away on its own eventually. The only problem is that it lasts as little as three days all the way to three weeks. A common error people make is diagnosing the condition themselves, and this sometimes ends up becoming detrimental, as it ends up being a different disease or inflammation. Remember to always get to the doctor to limit chances of something far more harmful. These are the facts and myths of pink eye. Hopefully, this improves your knowledge on the topic and helps prevent any problems with it. Prevention and limitation of pink eye starts with you.