The fall and winter seasons bring a welcome coolness to the air, but unfortunately they also accelerate the spread of unwanted illnesses. Pink eye is no exception. Formally known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is usually mild and easy to cure, but it’s still important to understand the causes, signs, and solutions, especially if you have young children in school or daycare.
Pink Eye: A Common Pediatric Infection
Pink eye is an incredibly common infection, especially among children. It forms when the thin, filmy membrane that covers the inside of the eyelid becomes inflamed. It can occur in bacterial, viral, or allergic form.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious, while allergic conjunctivitis is simply the body’s reaction to an allergen. The viral form of pink eye, meanwhile, is caused by the same virus as the common cold and will often become noticeable in the midst of a bad cold, making it very contagious and uncomfortable.
The Causes and Symptoms of Pinkeye
Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are usually spread through eye-to-hand contact between a sick and healthy individual, but it’s also caused by the spread of infection from the bacteria living in a person’s own nose. Poor contact lens hygiene can also lead to pink eye. Children who are in close contact throughout the day in school and daycare centers are most susceptible.
It’s easy to recognize pink eye by redness in the white of the eye, swelling eyelids, itching and burning in the eyelids, excessive tearing, and drainage that causes the eyelashes to stick together. Viral pink eye usually lasts about one week, but medicines cannot accelerate healing so it’s important to wash hands often, avoid contact with others, and wash linens after each use. Bacterial pink eye, on the other hand, can be treated with antibiotics for quicker recovery.
Suspect Pink Eye? Head to Your Local Urgent Care
If you suspect that you or one of your children has pink eye, don’t procrastinate on seeking medical attention. An urgent care like AFC Urgent Care provides extended hours and doesn’t require an appointment so you can get the care you need, right when you need it. Call (727) 831-8700 to learn more about the many services offered at AFC Urgent Care in St. Petersburg, Florida.