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How Long is Pink Eye Contagious

Pink eye can spread from one eye to the other, and from one person to the other as well. Let's find out for how long it is contagious...
Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, is actually a common sort of eye infection that can trouble the inner part of eyelid and its surrounding tissues (called conjunctiva). Due to the infection, these tissues and the mucous membrane overlay the white part of the eye that causes inflammation of the eye. Due to the same, the eyes start to look red and feel a lot of irritation. There are mainly two types of conjunctivitis, differing with their cause. They are namely, bacterial conjunctivitis and viral conjunctivitis. Pink eye, is also caused due to certain allergic reactions as well. To be more precise, anything that causes irritation and swelling to the eyes, can be considered as conjunctivitis. First, let us understand its causes and symptoms.

Pink Eye Causes and Symptoms
As stated earlier, there are several basic reasons that can cause the pink eye. Pink eye that is caused by bacterial infection can get transmitted, from one eye to the other and also to the one that contacts the person infected with pink eye. Following are the predominant reasons behind pink eye or conjunctivitis.
  • Viral infection of common sorts like sore throat, respiratory infection, sinus infection, common cold, etc.
  • Bacterial infections like streptococci and staphylococci infections.
  • Allergic reactions to dust and pollen and irritations caused by smoke, shampoos, soaps, chlorine from swimming pools, etc. getting into the eyes.
Symptoms of pink eye are watery eyes, itchiness and irritation of the eye, yellow to greenish discharge from the eyes, tearing, discomfort that is likely to affect both the eyes. In some cases, pink eye can also cause mild fever.

Is Pink Eye Contagious
After getting to know the causes and symptoms of pink eye, let us talk about how long it is contagious. Well to be frank, allergic pink eye is not contagious whereas bacterial pink eye is. Pink eye contagious time depends on the type of the pink eye, pink eye caused by bacterial infection can be highly contagious. Pink eye can be contagious from 3 to 14 days of the infection. In case of bacterial infection, pink eye can be contagious for at least 24 hours. I guess this has answered the question 'pink eye contagious for how long?'

There are chances of a person to get infected by just using or touching several articles like towels, that have been used by the person suffering with pink eye. Hence, it is very important to maintain proper hygiene and care when getting in contact with the person suffering with pink eye or conjunctivitis. Both viral and bacterial pink eye are contagious. For how long is pink eye contagious actually depends upon what pink eye remedies are being used and the duration for which they are being used. It is very important to treat the pink eye in its initial stage, which will evade the complications (if any).

Pink Eye Cure
Once a person suspects the pink eye infection, it is very important to get in touch with the health care provider and find out what sort of conjunctivitis is it so that the pink eye cure can be implemented accordingly. There are several pink eye home remedies that can be useful for the cause of pink eye cure. Apart from these pink eye home remedies, the health care providers will provide the antibiotics and eye drops that can cure the pink eye. While allergic and chemical conjunctivitis can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, anti allergy eye drops and several dosages of antihistamines are also suggested. Normally, viral conjunctivitis needn't be treated except in case of children.

This was all about the pink eye and it being contagious.
By Rutuja Jathar
Last Updated: 9/23/2011
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