Conjunctivitis – Dos, Don’ts and Myths

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Most parts of our country are happy about the beginning of the rainy season. The parched earth takes on a rejuvenated new look and the farmer breathes a sigh of relief. However, like all other seasons, it brings with it some specific risks and diseases. “Eye flu” or conjunctivitis is one such condition. Every year around this time, the incidence of eye flu increases dramatically.

Conjunctivitis is infection and inflammation of the ocular membrane in the white part of the eyeball and under the eyelids. It is usually caused by viruses or bacteria that are highly contagious. Standing water, ruined buildings, air pollution and humid weather are perfect breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria.

Conjunctivitis causes redness, itching, discharge (watery or thick), crusting that forms overnight, eye pain, sensitivity to light, and a gritty feeling in the eyes. A burning sensation is also fairly common. In some patients, a fever, cold, or sore throat may precede or follow. In rare cases, pus formation can be detected in the eye. Conjunctivitis is generally not a serious problem. However, it is important that you seek advice from one of the best eye clinics because if the flu is severe and not treated in time, it can affect the cornea and cause keratitis or ulcers that affect vision. Bacterial conjunctivitis is generally treated with antibiotic drops or ointment along with anti-inflammatory eye drops. Oral antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve symptoms.

Some tips for dealing with the disease:

· Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer throughout the day.

Persons with conjunctivitis must take special care of hygiene – do not share clothing, personal items, toiletries, etc.

· Do not touch your eyes repeatedly.

· Avoid public places and swimming.

DOS:

· Frequent hand washing with soap and water or disinfectant should be ensured by patients and everyone else around them.

Frequent washing of the eyes with cold filtered water and cold compression with ice packs help relieve symptoms.

· Use tissue paper to wipe your eyes and dispose of it properly with household waste.

· Wear sunglasses to prevent glare and reduce accidental eye contact with fingers.

· Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to be used as directed by the ophthalmologist – preferably a separate set of eye drops for each eye.

Forbidden:

· People with conjunctivitis should avoid public places and shaking hands, and should share their clothing, bedding, or sunglasses.

· Do not rub your eyes.

· Temporarily avoid using contact lenses.

· Do not share eye drops – cross contamination may occur.

· Do not use steroid eye drops or over-the-counter medicines from a pharmacy without consulting an ophthalmologist.

myths:

· You can get conjunctivitis by looking at a person who has it – it’s not an airborne disease and it spreads through contact only.

· Using eye drops beforehand can prevent conjunctivitis – there are no preventive antiviral eye drops.

Note:People with conjunctivitis can go to the back office and school after a few days – at this point lashes should not be watered or matted.

Thanks to Rajesh Kumar Tewatia

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