Public Health Fact Sheet
What is Pink-eye?
Conjunctivitis, also called Pink-eye, is an inflammation of the eye and eyelid usually caused by a bacteria or virus.
How is Pink-eye spread?
Several viruses and bacteria can cause Conjunctivitis (Pink-eye), some of which are very contagious. Each of these types of germs can spread from person to person in different ways. They usually spread from an infected person to others through:
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- The air by coughing and sneezing
- Touching an object or surface with germs on it, then touching your eyes before washing your hands
How is Pink-eye treated?
Use the eye drops or ointment that your doctor prescribes for the number of days prescribed. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after treating your eyes. Avoid contact with the tip of the medicine container. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread it to your other eye. With clean hands, wash any discharge from around your eye(s) several times a day using a clean, wet washcloth or fresh cotton ball. Throw away cotton balls after use, and wash used washcloths with hot water and detergent, then wash your hands again with soap and warm water. Do not use the same eye drop dispenser/bottle for you infected and non-infected eyes. Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels often in hot water and detergent; wash your hands after handling such items. Stop wearing contact lenses until your eye doctor says it's okay to start wearing them again.
How can we prevent Pink-eye?
Keep hands and fingers away from eyes. Use a clean tissue to clean them. Wash hands with soap and water before and after eye contact. Use separate towels and washcloths for each person in the home.
Symptoms of Pink-eye (Conjunctivitis)
- Red and swollen eyelids
- Pain or itching in the eyes
- Thick yellow drainage from the eyes
- Sensitivity to light