Back to School Tip: Now that kids are back in school, they’re around lots of other kids–and lots of other kids’ germs. Viruses and bacteria are present on objects kids touch every day, including door handles, keyboards, tablets, railings, restroom facilities, desks, playground equipment, pencils and art supplies.
When you consider how many times students touch these objects per day and that, on average, humans touch our faces hundreds of times per day, you can understand how viruses and bacteria quickly spread from student to student. This means an increased risk of infectious diseases, including the most common eye infection in school-age children: conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.”
What are the symptoms of Conjunctivitis?
It’s known as Pink Eye for a reason: If you or your child contracts conjunctivitis, you will likely have a pink, irritated discoloration of the whites of one or both eyes. In addition, you may exhibit these symptoms:
• Burning or itching sensation in the affected eye or eyes
• Thick pus or discharge coming from the eye or eyes
• A gritty feeling as if a foreign body is in the eye
• Swelling of the eyelids
• Excessive tearing
• An increase in light sensitivity
How is Conjunctivitis treated?
If you suspect you or your child have conjunctivitis, schedule an appointment with your optometrist immediately. If you are diagnosed with the condition, prescription antibiotic eye drops are an effective treatment.
How can I prevent contracting Conjunctivitis?
• Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
• Resist the urge to touch your eyes with your hands.
• Never share makeup, eye drops or lotions applied near the eyes.
• Don’t share pillowcases, washcloths or towels with anyone else.
• Never share contact lenses, contact lens cases or solutions with another person.
• Wear safety goggles in environments where you’ll be exposed to chemicals.
• Protect your eyes during windy days and in dusty conditions.