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Is Pink Eye Contagious

Updated on February 23, 2010

Is Pink Eye Contagious?  Yes, it is and generally spreads from one eye to another very quickly. Also known as conjunctivitis it can affect all the members of a person’s household if the required precautions are not taken. Most pink eye cases are caused by bacteria and the eye does not have a defensive system for destroying harmful bacteria. There is a natural chemical that is present in the conjunctiva that neutralizes the bacteria. Very often there are some colonies that overwhelm the natural defense mechanism of the eye and cause the pink eye infection.

The main symptom of the pink eye infection is discharge and tearing. The bacteria that are discharged can be easily transmitted to others. A pink eye infection through casual contact is likely, and an infection can spread through a family, group of office colleagues or a classroom very quickly. One should avoid direct contact with the infected eye and any bandages, tissues and cotton pads used for bathing the eye should be carefully wrapped and thrown away properly.

Since pink eye is highly contagious, the person should prevent the infection by washing hands frequently and not rubbing or touching the eye area at all. One should share towels and other wash cloths with the other members in the family. The eye should be given a hot wash to get rid of the virus and the bacteria that is present in the eye. Objects like telephones, door knobs, faucets and toys should be disinfected with antibacterial wipes and disinfectant sprays. This should be done in order to neutralize the bacterial or viral infection. The duration of pink eye being contagious ranges from 3 to 7 days.

Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious. The pink eye infection that is caused by hay fever or any other allergic reaction is not contagious. In such cases pink eye occurs as a symptom of the allergy and can be removed with antihistamine treatment that reduces the allergic response of the body to a large extent. At times it is very difficult to ascertain the cause of the pink eye infection. For this reason it is wise and prudent to resort to the precautions that have been mentioned above so that the infection can be successfully treated.

When one is suffering from the pink eye infection he should avoid touching and rubbing the infected eye. One should frequently wash hands after the application of eye drops or lotion to the affected eye. The eye should be bathed by using one wipe from the inner to the outer corner and the cotton should be disposed. You should use fresh cotton for each wipe. One should also discard contact lenses and obtain new ones. They should be used until the infection is completely healed.

Pink eye is contagious whenever there is tearing, a discharge or matting of the eyelids when one is sleeping. The discharge indicates that the bacteria or the virus is still present and when the discharge symptoms have stopped the person is no longer contagious.

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