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September 20, 2013
Not So Pretty with Pink Eye
Loyola Physician Talks about Dealing with Pink Eye
MAYWOOD, Ill. – As children are hard at work learning at school, viruses and bacteria are also hard at work, spreading from one child to another. One of the most contagious ailments is pink eye. Though not life-threatening, the sticky infection is a hassle for parents, teachers and students.
“This common medical condition is around all year. Since it can spread so easily it’s more common when school is back is session and kids are in close contact and touching similar surfaces,” said Khalilah Babino, DO, an Immediate Care physician at Loyola University Health System.
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is when the conjunctiva, a very thin membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and white portion of the eye, gets inflamed and causes the lining to become red and swollen.
“Contrary to popular belief, pink eye is not always due to a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by viruses, allergens and irritants. These types of conjunctivitis will typically resolve spontaneously without additional treatment,” Babino said.
Still, bacteria can be the cause of the infection. Bacterial conjunctivitis is extremely contagious and can quickly spread through a household or classroom. It typically causes eye redness, irritation, pain and/or thick, discolored drainage initially in one eye. It’s common for a person’s eyelids to be “stuck” shut upon awakening due to drainage.
"Bacterial conjunctivitis can be the result of infection from one of several bacterial organisms. Transmission is from person-to-person contact, secretions from an affected person or infected surfaces. If you suspect you have this type of infection, it’s best to see your medical provider as soon as possible,” Babino said.
Babino gives the following tips for dealing with bacterial pink eye:
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 15-20 seconds with warm soapy water.
- Use alcohol sanitizer when water and soap are not available to clean your hands.
Avoid eye makeup during an infection and discard any open eye makeup as it is likely contaminated.
- Remove contact lenses and wear glasses until the infection is cleared.
- Thoroughly clean your contact lens case and discard disposable contacts.
- Avoid touching your eyes with your fingers. Conjunctivitis is commonly transmitted from one eye to the other this way.
- Avoid school and/or work until you have had at least 24 hours of antibiotic treatment.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.