how long is the pink eye contagious for?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis as it is medically referred to is a condition that afflicts the eyes. The conjuctiva which from the inner surface of your eyelids and is actually the outermost layer of the eye gets inflamed. This inflammation is in most cases due to an allergic reaction, or a bacterial or viral infection. Viral infections of pink are probably the most common.

Pink eye is not contagious if the condition is caused as an allergic reaction, but both the viral and bacterial infections are contagious. Pink eye is in fact highly contagious if of the infectious variety, and it would be wise to take every possible precaution if in contact with a patient or if suffering from the condition yourself. In the case of a pink eye infection caused by bacterial infection the disease becomes contagious once the symptoms begin to appear and the eye actually begins to discharge. It ceases to be contagious twenty four hours after the administering of antibiotics. Pink eye that is of the viral nature can be spread even before the symptoms become apparent and it remains contagious for as long as there are any symptoms present.

Bacterial conjunctivitis generally does not require treatment, except to relieve the symptoms. Antibiotic ointments and eye drops however can speed up recovery, but this makes a marginal difference as the duration without treatment is four days, while treatment reduces this to a minimum of three days. Viral conjunctivitis has no medical treatment but warm compresses and artificial tears can be used to provide relief from the symptoms.

Here are some points that you need to keep in mind to prevent getting infected or from spreading the infection:

  • Make it a point to wash your hands thoroughly if you interact with a patient or before interacting if you suffer from the condition. Do not share personal items like towels, or cotton balls.
  • Washing your hands frequently if you are infected is also important as you may spread the infection from one eye to the other.
  • Never share cosmetics as bacteria can contaminate beauty products, which is also why testers at stores pose a threat of infection.
  • If you use contacts, make sure you don't use them for the duration of the infection and cleanse them thoroughly before using them after the infection resolves.
  • Disinfect surfaces like your computer mouse or door knobs too, as they are very likely to be contaminated through contact.

answered by S D

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