Avoid spreading conjunctivitis to everyone around you
If you are unlucky enough to have caught bacterial or viral conjunctivitis and you have sticky or watery red eyes due to an infection, not an allergy, it is your duty to avoid spreading this to other people.
Conjunctivitis is often called pink eye. It can affect children and adults alike. The tissues on the inside of the eyelid, called the conjunctiva, become inflamed and this can affect one or both eyes.
Pink eye symptoms can also include:
- Light sensitivity
- A sticky or watery discharge
Sometimes pink eye is just caused by allergens, but most often pink eye is caused as a result of a bacterial or viral infection of the conjunctiva, which can easily be spread from person to person, meaning that you must take steps to avoid contamination.
Tips on how you can avoid spreading conjunctivitis to everyone around you:
- Wash your hands. You should wash your hands after touching your eyes or face, or the eyes or face of anyone who has conjunctivitis. The best way to do this is to use soap and warm water, or you can use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- You should wash your hands before and after putting in eyedrops. Many people put in eyedrops such as lubricants or anti-glaucoma drops and, if they wash their hands before and after putting in the eyedrops, they will reduce the risk of spreading conjunctivitis.
- If you have conjunctivitis, or you are in contact with someone who has conjunctivitis, you should wear disposable gloves when touching them. This is particularly relevant for doctors if they are examining patients who may have conjunctivitis. They should put on disposable gloves to avoid getting the virus or bacteria on their hands and spreading it to another patient.
- No swimming. If you have conjunctivitis, it makes sense not to go swimming. You probably will not feel like swimming anyway but, if you do go swimming, there is a chance that you will be spreading your conjunctivitis to other swimmers This is because . as the chlorine in water does not neutralise all bacterial viruses.
- Clean your eyelids. If you have conjunctivitis you can reduce the amount of virus and bacteria sitting on the surface of your eyelids at the lash roots and on the eyelashes by regular cleaning four times a day. You can clean them with a warm flannel, but make sure you use a separate one each time. Or you soak some make-up removal cotton pads in warm water that has been boiled and then cooled to a tolerable temperature. You can then use the pads to clean your eyelids. You can also use proprietary micelle cleaning solutions that can be bought over the counter at a chemist or from Clinica London at our reception desk.
- Disposable washcloths. If you have conjunctivitis, you need to use disposable washcloths or make sure that you wash pillows, bed sheets and towels at a high temperature to destroy the viruses and bacteria.
- Do not share make-up. If you have conjunctivitis, you should not share make-up. Viruses and bacteria can be found on the make-up applicators and brushes and in the make-up itself. If you put on make-up and then somebody else uses that make-up they may catch your conjunctivitis.
- Do not share eyewear. If you share glasses, sunglasses, contact lens containers or even contact lenses (horror! I hope you will never do this) you may well spread your conjunctivitis to everyone around you.
- Do not share eyedrops or eyedrop dispensers. If you have conjunctivitis and you are using eyedrops you can inadvertently contaminate the bottle containing the eyedrops, or the dispenser, and therefore you should only use that bottle on one eye and then a clean bottle on the other eye. You should not share eyedrops or keep them beyond the expiry date.
- Avoid kissing! Is this true? Well, it actually means that you should be very careful about being very close to other people when you have conjunctivitis as you could, by droplet spread, give them conjunctivitis.
In this blog post, I have described ten simple ways that you can avoid spreading conjunctivitis to everyone around you. If you are suffering from conjunctivitis, I hope that it gets better very quickly. If you have concerns about it, or think that it may be something more severe, we are available at Clinica London to see you in our urgent eye care clinic, which runs daily. We are here to provide the highest possible quality of urgent eye care and advice.