Did you or maybe your child wake up this morning with crust over one of your eyes? Or maybe they came home from school with red, swollen eyes? The symptoms are incredibly irritating and at times painful; it’s Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis.) Is Pink Eye infectious? The school said your kid can’t come back until they’re no longer contagious. The question then is, how long is Pink Eye contagious?
How Long is Pink Eye Contagious: Pink Eye Facts
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) is the infection and inflammation of the conjunctiva (inner lining of the eyelid and eyeball.) It presents itself with:
- Itching and Irritation
- Eye Pain
- Excessive Tearing
- Blurry Vision
- Crusty Buildup During Sleep
- Light Sensitivity
- Feel Like You Have Something In Your Eye
Anyone who’s had Pink Eye knows that it can be miserable, and the longer it goes on the worse you feel. You will definitely be asking yourself how long this will go on, and your work or school will be asking, “How long is Pink eye contagious?”
How Long is Pink Eye Contagious: Depends on Where You Get It
There are basically three main types of Conjunctivitis, each caused by a different source, and it’s this that determines how long is Pink Eye contagious.
- Caused by bacteria
- Highly contagious
- Can be treated medically
- Takes between 3-7 days to resolve
- Can last longer untreated
- Caused by viruses (commonly adenoviruses)
- Most common cause of Conjunctivitis
- Also highly contagious
- No known effective treatment (can only treat the symptoms)
- Must resolve on its own
- Usually takes 5-7 days for symptoms to go away
- Can last up to 3 weeks, and even become chronic
- Caused by allergens (the thing you’re allergic to)
- Not contagious
- Must treat the allergy to treat the Pink Eye
- Lasts until you fix the allergy
- Can be chronic if untreated
There are a few other sources of origin, but they’re not near as common, and some fall vaguely within the 3 types above.
- Certain diseases can cause Pink Eye
- Chemical Exposure
- Chlamydia and Herpes
- Parasites (extremely rare)
- Improper use of contacts (bacterial)
So bacterial and viral are contagious, and they’re the ones that most people wonder about when they ask how long is Pink Eye contagious. Only a doctor can tell you which type you have, and he or she will have to take a Swab Test to determine. It’s a good idea to see a doctor when you get it, so you can reduce the odds of complications.
How Long is Pink Eye Contagious: Why Does It Matter?
It’s highly contagious, that’s why! How is Pink Eye spread? It is a condition that is spread through contact, with another person or object. Schools and work don’t want you to return until you are no longer contagious. Pink Eye can sweep through a gathering of people in a very short time. I have sent home 7 students in one day with symptoms of Conjunctivitis. Some schools and work organizations require a 24 hour waiting period, after you have started treatment, before you can return.
With this in mind Prevention of Pink Eye, rather than treatment should be your concern. The most effective weapon against this condition is to keep from getting it. There are a few simple steps you can follow which will make the question of, “How long is Pink Eye contagious?” obsolete.
- Good hygiene
- Don’t put your hands near your eyes
- Don’t share eye makeup
- Get new eye makeup frequently
- Use proper contact lens care
- Change and wash pillowcases often
- WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN
When you take the steps above, the most important being wash your hands often, you are no longer at the mercy of the person who has Pink Eye. You are actively defending against infection.
How Long is Pink Eye Contagious: It Matters!
It is important to find out “how long is Pink Eye contagious” because it matters not only to you, but those around you. You can be a serious risk of spreading infection if you are not aware of your:
- When they started
- How long they will last
You don’t want to spread your discomfort to others, and knowing how long to stay away from the public will be important. Also, you want to take precautions to avoid getting Conjunctivitis in the first place. A little personal responsibility will go a long way to keep you from a little personal pain. So, how long is Pink Eye contagious, hopefully you now see that depends on the type you have.
Which type of Pink Eye is NOT contagious?
True or False: Prevention is the best defense against Pink Eye.
Which is NOT a symptom of Pink Eye?
a. Elevated electrolytes
d. Crusty build up
Answers at the bottom of the page!
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Answers: 1) d, 2) a, 3) a