We know that the eyes turn red and it's contagious, but what is conjunctivitis; we ask Dr. Satish Mehta, Ophthalmologist from the Moolchand Eye Clinic in New Delhi. He says "Conjunctivitis is a common communicable disease and spreads mostly during summer and the rainy season. It is basically an infection and inflammation of the conjunctiva — redness and swelling of the thin protective membrane of eye — and can be caused due to any kind of viral or bacterial infection, irritants, abrasions chemical reaction, dust allergy, etc."
Besides washing your hands, Dr. Satish elaborates on the different ways you can prevent conjunctivitis, “Conjunctivitis generally spreads through touching or contact. The virus spreads during monsoon when the weather conditions are ideal for it. Its incubation period is 3-7 days and is highly contagious, as it gets transmitted by hand-to-eye contact and can happen at any age. Here are some of the simple precautionary measures to be followed:
- Do not touch/hand shake
- Do not touch taps or door handles
- Do not share common towels, pillows, beds, toiletries
- Do not share common eye cosmetics
- Avoid infected eye instruments
- If already suffering from eye flu, then do not use contact lenses and say no to swimming for the time being."
Your eyes may turn red due to dust, lack of sleep, strain on the eyes, allergy cold, so how do you differentiate? Dr. Satish points out the tell tale signs of conjunctivitis, “One is advised to consult a doctor if the following symptoms persist for more than 2 days: Redness of eyes, watering, itching, discharge, photophobia - eye discomfort in bright light, swelling around the eyes, sticky eyes and swollen eyelids.”
But if you want to try to cure yourself from the contagious eye sore, there’s only so much you can do. “If a patient is suffering from conjunctivitis, then at home they are advised to follow these tips:
- Wash the eyes frequently with normal clean water or previously boiled water
- Self-medication should never be attempted as it may further harm your eyes
- Person should be isolated; no school, office or public gathering
- Keep the eyes clean
- Use dark glasses
- Never start self-medication
- Consult an eye specialist as early as possible; till eye specialist is not available, start with antibiotic eye drops
- Never use steroid eye drops”
With these guidelines and strict precautionary measures in place, you might just be able to give Conjunctivitis a miss this monsoon. Note that it is a common recurring inflammation - If you get it once, there are chances you may get it again.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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