How Pink Eye Spreads
How is pink eye spread? If a member of a family contracts pink eye, it is important for the family to know how pink eye is spread so that the whole family doesn’t get pink eye. People can do things to prevent pink eye from spreading to others. Proper hygiene, careful use of linens, and cautious pink eye treatment can be preventative measures to spreading pink eye.
Pink eye has different causes. This inflammation of the conjunctiva, or outer membrane of the eye, can be caused be bacterial infection, viral infection, allergies, smoke or other irritants. Not all cases of pink eye are contagious. Pink eye that has been caused by bacterial infections and viral infections are extremely contagious. Pink eye from other causes are not contagious.
Pink eye spreading can occur from contact with the discharge from the eye. People with pink eye should avoid rubbing or touching their eyes. If they touch their eyes and then touch a person or a thing, it can contaminate the person or item that was touched. If an item has been touched by someone with pink eye after that person touched an infected eye, someone else could get pink eye by touching that item. Therefore, it is crucial for people with pink eye to wash their hands frequently and after the eye has been touched to prevent spreading it to others.
People with pink eye should try to keep the eyes clean to promote healing. Warm washcloths may be used to wipe the eyes. Warm and cold washcloths are commonly used as compresses to provide comfort. Other people should avoid contact with any washcloths, towels, and linens used by the person with pink eye. Sharing towels, bed linens, or other items that may come in contact with the eyes may spread pink eye. All towels and bed linens should be washed after use.
When treating pink eye, the person should avoid doing things that could cause pink eye spreading. Pink eye that has been caused by a bacterial infection may be treated with prescription eye drops. Sometimes, people with pink eye from a viral infection use over-the-counter eye drops for comfort. Extreme caution should be used when using eye drops for pink eye.
Eye drops should never be shared. If a person with pink eye accidentally touches the tip of the eye drop container to their eye or the skin around their eye, the eye drops can become contaminated. This can prolong the symptoms of pink eye in that person since they may be contaminating their eyes with every use of the eye drops. Contaminated eye drops could also cause pink eye spreading to anyone who uses the eye drops.