When this time of year comes around we can guarantee a few things. The temperature will get cooler, the leaves will start to change, and people tend to get sick. With the change in seasons, it seems people tend to get those nagging colds and the flu more frequently. Now you can get a flu shot to give you some protection against the flu but it can be difficult to protect yourself from getting a cold. This also is the time of year that people worry about getting “Pink Eye.”
“Pink eye” is a viral conjunctivitis that has the symptoms of a reddish-pink glossy eye, watery discharge, and you may have either had a cold or upper respiratory infection or currently have one. Viral conjunctivitis is quite contagious and requires a lot of work to keep anything that is touched clean and a lot of hand washing. It is common if someone in the family has viral conjunctivitis that it can spread as well so washing pillowcases, clothing, towels, etc. can help try to limit the spread.
The typical course for viral conjunctivitis is 7-14 days and it will resolve on its own but usually the symptoms are too much to handle so your eye doctor can prescribe drops that can help with your symptoms. Your eye doctor can also run a test that can determine if what you have is actually a virus or not. It is a simple in office procedure that takes a sample of your tears to see if a virus is present. This test can be helpful to determine if you need to either keep your child home from school or daycare or if you can go back to work that day.
There are other forms of conjunctivitis including bacterial, allergic, and inflammatory. Each of these have different clinical signs and your symptoms may or may not vary so if you have a red eye and want to know what you have and what can be done to help you feel better, please call (860) 233-2020 and schedule an appointment.