While pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is not a dangerous disease, it is extremely contagious and relatively annoying. Getting pink eye can take you out of public life completely and throw a monkey wrench in any immediate plans you have. Knowing treat pink eye will get you on track to getting rid of the infection and back into your normal routine.
1. Determine whether or not you have pink eye. In the best case scenario, you should always visit your doctor to have a proper diagnosis made of any infection or disease. In the case of pink eye, however, the symptoms are very specific and easy to spot. Pink eye will usually start with a constant feeling that something you can’t remove is in one or both of your eyes. A constant itchiness and overproduction of tears will accompany it. The next morning, when you wake up, if you find that your eyes are crusted shut with dried puss and the eyeballs themselves are dark pink or red, you have conjunctivitis.
2. Clean your eyes. Because common conjunctivitis is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection, the first and most important thing to do is clean the eyes and areas surrounding them. Take a very clean face cloth and run it under very warm water. Once damp and warm, begin pressing softly against the affected eye. This may increase the flow of puss for a moment or two, but this is simply your body cleaning itself. Continue wiping away the puss gently as it seeps out. This may take ten or fifteen minutes. Repeat with the second eye if needed. Once this is done, take another clean face towel and, using baby soap or baby shampoo, gently cleanse the area around the eyes. Pat dry with a clean towel.
3. Visit your physician for a proper diagnosis. While cleaning the eye will minimize the discomfort, it is best to visit a physician to determine whether the conjunctivitis is bacterial or viral. If it is bacterial, the puss will be thicker, usually, and your physician will most likely prescribe antibiotic eye drops. If it is viral, there isn’t an immediate cure for the discharge itself, but the doctor may recommend over the counter remedies that will make your irritation decrease significantly. With either diagnosis, you are still highly contagious for seven to fourteen days of the first signs of pink eye.
4. Take preventative measures to keep pink eye from returning. Once you have let the pink eye run its course, it is important to change your hygiene habits to keep conjunctivitis from returning. Be more vigilant about washing your hands and pay attention to how often you touch your eyes or eyelids, especially if you work in a field where you are in contact with the general public. Change your pillowcases on a weekly basis and wash your towels and face cloths more frequently. Remove your eye makeup more thoroughly and use gentle soaps on the areas around your eyes to keep them sanitary. All of these things will help keep your eyes clean and safe from a possible return of pink eye.