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How long is Pink eye Contagious?

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What is Pink eye?

Pink eye or medically known as conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eyes. The conjunctiva is known as the cover for the eyeballs, the inner part of our eyelids. It is known that the conjunctiva is a sensitive part of the human body. Once it has been affected by any bacterial, viral and toxic agent, promoting pink eye is most likely. Also an allergic reaction may cause such phenomenon. This condition does not affect a certain age group instead it affects equally the general population. But this condition can also be classified as infectious or noninfectious.


This condition can be diagnosed by eye scrapings that will be sent for cytology. Since there are a number of causes for pink eye, acquiring samples from the conjunctiva is typical.

What causes pink eye?

Pink eye is caused by a number of agents. As this can be classified and shall also have their specific manifestations. The agents responsible for pink eye are the following:

  • Viral agent. This is believed as the leading cause of pink eye. As noted, adenoviruses are the type if viral agents that cause for viral pink eye. This is also accompanied by the following manifestations; watery discharges and cold-like symptoms. In addition, the patient may also suffer from puffy eyes or swollen eyes. The patient may also suffer from photophobia, or increased in sensitivity to light. As reported, this condition can linger to the affected for 1-2 weeks and shall slowly subside with an additional 1 or 2 weeks.
  • Bacterial agent. Typically, pink eye caused by bacteria and these are Staph or Strep infection. These agents would include other symptoms such as eye pain, itching, and moderate amounts of discharges which are yellow or greenish in color. And because of these discharges, the affected would usually have the pink eye completely shut. In order to avoid such result, one should apply a warm cloth or compress on the affected eye/eyes. Antibiotic drops or ointment is usually recommended by doctors. Chlamydia infection can also cause for pink eye infection. This is a common sexually transmitted disease that can be passed on to newborns through the birthing process. This can be treated with erythromycin.
  • Allergens. This is due to the infectious process that involves chemical mediators which stimulate dilatation of the blood vessels, thus resulting to redness and induction of discharges. This can be prevented with avoiding the chemical agents that would stimulate for an allergic reaction. As when this is unavoidable, treatment can be attained through taking of NSAIDs and antihistamines. Additional symptoms include itching of the eyes, tearing, swelling and pain.
  • Chemical agent. This is also identified as eye injury. This is caused by either an acidic or alkali substance. This can result to burning and eventually result to redness of the eyes. As this may be accompanied by pain, local anesthesia may be provided.

Is pink eye contagious?

Yes, as this condition can be possibly spread like wild fire. But pink eyes caused by a bacterial and viral agent are the only known contagious type of pink eye. The condition is contagious as the person has manifested pink eye. If there are discharges, the person is highly infectious. But as a person has taken his antibiotics, he is not contagious after 24 hours.

This is also possible when a person is not cautious with his or her hygiene practices such as those who are not conscious with health. In order to avoid contaminating others of the said infection the affected should do the following:

  • Avoid scratching the eyes.
  • Sharing of face towels is a big no.
  • Viral agents can be spread through coughing, in order to avoid infecting others close mouth when one is about to sneeze or cough.
  • Do not let others touch the affected eye.
  • Frequent hand washing is advised.

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