Three ways to avoid viral conjunctivitis
Viral conjunctivitis – particularly adenovirus conjunctivitis – can develop when you have recently had a bad cold or a flu-like illness. Without realising it, you have touched your nose, then you have touched your eyes and rubbed them, introducing the virus to the conjunctiva. You will then develop a nasty, watery conjunctivitis that gives you red eyes, swollen eyelids and blurred vision.
You can also catch adenovirus from external sources by droplet spread and by touching other people who may be secreting the virus from their mucous membranes or who have the virus on their hands.
How to avoid viral conjunctivitis
1. A little-known way of avoiding adenovirus is to meticulously wash your hands after contact with other people. You can also catch adenovirus from objects, such as towels, that are touched by many other people. The virus can even be spread via droplets that are spread from air dryers in public places.
2. You can avoid getting viral conjunctivitis by steering clear of crowded areas, particularly when there are a lot of viral coughs and colds around that can cause droplet spread of the virus. This becomes a vicious circle because you can get that cold. You can then spread the virus directly to your eyes, or another person could spread the virus back to you.
3. The last little-known way of avoiding conjunctivitis is to be very careful when you go into medical facilities. Whether you are going to an accident and emergency department or to your GP practice, or, if you visit somebody in hospital, invariably in these environments there can be a higher incidence of people carrying viruses.
Therefore you should always clean your hands with alcohol hand wash or soap and water, or any other hand wash, in order to avoid what is called a nosocomial infection.
“Nosocomial” means a disease originating in hospital and it comes from two Greek words: nosos, meaning disease, and komeion, meaning to take care of. So a nosocomial infection is a disease or, in this case, conjunctivitis that you have contracted either while undergoing medical care or visiting someone that is receiving medical treatment. A nosocomial infection can occur within 48 hours of you being in a medical facility such as a casualty department or other hospital ward, a GP practice or a clinic.
Although I have talked about the little-known ways of avoiding conjunctivitis – and probably after reading this you will think that it makes complete sense – the advice underlines the basic tenets of preventing transmission of infection from person to person by droplet spread or touch and even to yourself if you have a viral infection.
I hope you will find this helpful. If you do have conjunctivitis, we will be happy to help you and advise you here at Clinica London.