Help Prevent Spread of Pink Eye

School can spread more than knowledge- some researchers suggest that pink eye is most commonly spread among school students.

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is the most common eye problem among children. It is a highly contagious disease, with more than 3 million cases occurring every year in the United States.

School is a common setting where the illness spreads, according to a University of Kentucky (UK) associate professor of ophthalmology, Seema Capoor, MD, who is also a UK HealthCare ophthalmologist. Children tend to touch their eyes, and can infect other children by sharing toys and equipment.

Symptoms of pink eye include eyelash or eyelid burning, crusting, irritation, itching, or swelling; pink or red in the whites of the eye; respiratory symptoms; sensitivity to bright lights; and tenderness in the lymph nodes, according to Capoor. Most conjunctivitis cases are allergic, bacterial, or viral. Depending on the type, pink eye can be treated by a medical practitioner using antibiotic drops or ointment, antihistamine medication, or cold compresses.

Ways of preventing infection include changing sheets and towels and washing clothes in hot water daily. Additionally, patients should avoid touching their eyes and faces, clean glasses regularly, and discard eye makeup upon diagnosis. Capoor suggested seeking treatment if a child is showing signs of pink eye.