Pink eye is a goopy, itchy, highly contagious inevitability, and you, as a parent and functional adult, need to know how to deal with. Because kids (and some adults) regularly get stuff in their eyes that really shouldn’t be there.
Here’s what you need to know:
Pink eye = Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis sounds like a creature with an odd number of legs and sharp claws, not something you ever want setting up camp in your eye. So, we call it “pink eye.” As your eye–specifically the conjunctiva, the super thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of our eyelid and covers the white part of our eyeball — becomes irritated and/or infected, its blood vessels swell and make your eye look, that’s right, pink.
And it can look really, really bad, but it’s the most common eye infection and very treatable
Most cases clear up within one to two weeks
Before you go into a panic about being patient zero in the zombie apocalypse, know that your body’s probably already taking steps to rid itself of the cause.
There are four general kinds of pink eye
The most common is viral, which can be accompanied by a sore throat and is basically the eye version of your chest cold. Then there’s bacterial (this is your classic poop particles in the eye and the second most common), allergic (a reaction to pollen, mould or dust), and chemical or irritant (which can be caused by things like swimming pools, smog or makeup). It’s a good idea to know which you’ve got as treatment may vary.
You should probably avoid school or work while you have it
Due to the fact it’s so highly contagious, you’re advised to stick to yourself as much as you can while you’re sick. Go ahead and stay in bed. Sending digital love though, seriously.
There are obvious symptoms to watch for
Common symptoms include eyes (or eye) turning from healthy white to bright red, waking up with crusty eyelashes that feel sealed together, increased tears or eye discharge (usually white, green or yellow), itchy eyes or, our personal favourite, that goopy, gritty feeling.
A simple bottle of Polysporin antibiotic might help
It’s not a bad idea to have this stuff on hand in your medicine cabinet. You don’t need a prescription, and if you nip a gooey, rose-hued eye in the bud, chances are, it’ll heal up faster.
And a cold, wet cloth and eye drops will also help with the discomfort
Put a cold, wet cloth over your eye and use eye drops liberally.
But if it doesn’t get better, or symptoms worsen, see your doctor
For persistent cases, or if you develop symptoms like severe pain in the infected eye, blurred vision or light sensitivity, see the person in the white coat.
You cannot get pink eye from farts that happen to land on your pillow
Despite what you learned from Knocked Up, we can’t get pink eye from someone passing wind on our pillow. Still gross tho.
Pink eye is INCREDIBLY CONTAGIOUS
Do not, we repeat DO NOT, touch anything that could have come in contact with the infected person’s eye. We’re talking pillows, fingers, towels, contact lens cases. If for some reason you share eye makeup (don’t do this!), don’t even think about using it on a day your pal’s eye is looking glossy and irritated.
Wash your hands frequently and vigorously if a family member gets it
It really is the best way to stop the spread.
And of course, if anything seems out of the ordinary, the internet is a good source of information, but your doctor is always your best bet.