A buddy of mine once had pink eye, so I can attest to the fact that it’s a real handful. That’s why I’ve put together this article on how to treat pink eye. If you’re unfortunate enough to get it, I sincerely hope that the tips and suggestions listed below will allow you to recover as fast as possible with the least amount of discomfort.
What Is Pink Eye?
Before we can discuss how to treat pink eye, we need to know exactly what we’re dealing with. Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, occurs when the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and surface of the eye (known as the conjunctiva) becomes red and swollen.
Common symptoms of pink eye include:
- Red and swollen eyelids
- Redness of the eye (also known as hyperemia)
- Increased production of tears
- Itching or burning of the eye
- Eye drainage
- The sensation that something is in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
What Causes Pink Eye?
Pink eye is normally caused by one of the following:
- Fumes, smoke, or chemicals
- Infections resulting from bacteria or viruses
- Dry eyes brought about by exposure to the wind and sun or lack of tears
The Three Types of Pink Eye
If you want to know how to treat pinkeye, it’s important to know what kind of pink eye you’re suffering from. There are three thrilling variations to choose from.
- Bacterial – Does respond to antibiotics, often in the form of eye drops or ointment. A warm, wet washcloth applied to the infected area can also help relieve symptoms. With treatment, symptoms will usually begin to clear in a few days, and it’s usually same to go back to work 24 hours after starting a round of antibiotics.
- Viral – Runs its course in one to two weeks. Does not respond to antibiotics. Symptoms can be relieved somewhat by using artificial tears. Usually associated with an infection of the cornea. You can usually return to work when symptoms begin to improve, often in three to five days.
- Allergic – Wash out your eyes and consult with a doctor. Decongestant eye drops work well, especially when combined with a cold, damp washcloth. If you got some kind of chemical in your eye, be sure to consult with a poison control center immediately.
Without medical treatment, most cases of pink eye will go away in seven to ten days, although it’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor and determine the exact cause of the infection. Pinkeye is very common, so don’t freak out if you’re diagnosed with it.
How to Treat Pinkeye – Tips and Techniques
If you find yourself stricken with pinkeye, the following tips and techniques are recommended to clear it up as soon as possible:
- See a doctor as soon as possible.
- Several times per day, apply warm compresses to your eyes. This will promote blood flow and reduce irritation.
- If you have an impaired immune system, be sure to see a doctor immediately if you come down with pink eye. The same goes for people who normally only have vision in one eye.
- Do not use any medicine left over from your last case of pink eye (or that of a loved one). It might not be the right kind of treatment, and there’s a chance your symptoms could worsen.
- When you have pink eye, you’ll often notice a discharge from the eyes. Remove this with a cloth dipped in warm water. Make sure nobody else handles the cloth, as pink eye is highly contagious.
- If you pinkeye was caused by irritants, be sure to open the windows and left some fresh air in. You might do the same for pinkeye caused by allergies, unless the cause is something outside like ragweed.
- Keep tissues handy, as pinkeye can often result in an increased flow of tears.
- Change your sheets frequently, especially if you share the bed with someone else. Pay particular attention to pillowcases, as the discharge that leaks onto the pillows could cause the condition to flare up once again.
- While suffering from pink eye, do not wear contact lenses. This can prevent the healing process or result in another infection.
- Make sure to rest the infected eye or eyes as much as possible. The best way to do this is to get plenty of sleep.
- Wash your hands frequently. This will help eliminate the chance of getting additional bacteria in your eyes, as well as reduce the risk of giving your pinkeye to someone else.
- Do not try to dip your eyes in water.
- Avoid touching your eyes with your fingers. The same goes for rubbing your eyes.
- If given medicine by a doctor, be sure to take it just as prescribed.
- Take time off until it’s safe to go back to work or school.
While time is the best way to treat pink eye, I’m confident that the suggestions listed in this article will reduce both your recovery period and the amount of irritation. And if you’d like to avoid pink eye altogether, be sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid irritants like cigarette smoke.
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