What’s Going Around: Pink eye

What's Going Around: Pink eye (Image 1)

You may want to wash your hands more regularly.  A dreaded contagious eye condition is going around this week in our region.

Dr. Melanie Skeen with Wellmont Medical Associates in Norton is reporting some cases of conjunctivitis, or pink eye, and she says it's important to realize there are three types of pink eye: viral, bacterial, and allergic.

First, let's talk viral.  This one originates from the common cold virus.  Your ye will feel gritty, look red or pink and will have that yucky crust in the morning, or mucous in the corners.  Anti-biotics will not help viral pink eye.

Dr. Skeen says bacterial pink eye can be caused by things like strep or staph.  It presents with green or yellow mucous that pours from the eye throughout the day, and matted together in the morning.  This one gets an anti-biotic.

 Dr. Skeen says there are several types of allergic pink eye:

 “There are 3 kinds, all of which cause itchy, watery, burning eyes. The eyelids may even have swelling. It usually affects both eyes but one may be worse than the other. First is acute type, which occurs suddenly and is pretty severe. Usually that is in response to something like cat dander or a severe allergy and will resolve within 24 hours or so after the allergen has been removed. Next is seasonal type. This, as the name suggests, occurs seasonally and is like hay fever. The last is called perennial. It is chronic and is pretty much year-round. Mostly this type is in response to environmental allergies. Now, for all allergic conjunctivitis types: Don't rub because this just makes it worse; use artificial tears throughout the day. This helps dilute and wash away any pesky allergens; Get an over-the-counter topical antihistamine/vasoconstrictor medicine, such as Visine-A (but don't use more than 2 weeks), and apply cool compresses. You can also use over-the-counter antihistamines such as Allegra, Claritin, or Zyrtec. However, these tend to dry out mucous membranes, so apply the artificial tears liberally. If all this fails, see your eye doctor and he or she will fix you right up.”

With any case of pink eye, Dr. Skeen says do not wear contacts or makeup, and wash your pillowcase.

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