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Conjunctivitis is swelling (inflammation) or infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane lining the eyelids.
Conjunctivitis due to infection is contagious.
Treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the cause.
Allergic conjunctivitis may respond to allergy treatment. It may disappear on its own when the allergen that caused it is removed. Cool compresses may help soothe allergic conjunctivitis.
Antibiotic medication, usually eye drops, is effective for bacterial conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis will disappear on its own. Many doctors give a mild antibiotic eyedrop for conjunctivitis to prevent bacterial infection.
You can soothe the discomfort of viral or bacterial conjunctivitis by applying warm compresses (clean cloths soaked in warm water) to your closed eyes.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your symptoms last longer than 3 or 4 days.
Good hygiene helps treat and prevent the spread of bacterial conjunctivitis:
- Do not touch or rub your eyes. If your eyes itch or burn, use a tissue to wipe drainage; put the used tissue in the trash, and clean your hands.
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if hands are not visibly soiled.
- Do not wear contact lenses while your eyes are red or draining. Discard contact lens solution used before or during your eye illness. Disinfect contact lenses before resuming use.
- Don’t share towels or washcloths or make up products.
- Do not reuse handkerchiefs (using a tissue is best).
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Change pillowcases frequently.
- Points 1, 2 and 3 are also applicable to allergic conjunctivitis.
- Your doctor or pharmacist may prescribe an eye drop for the treatment of conjunctivitis: CLICK HERE for efficient way to apply eye drops.