Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common type of conjunctivitis or pink eye. It is contagious and can spread from one person to the other. Read this HealthHearty article to know for how long it can be contagious and what are the ways in which you can prevent its spread.
Conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye infections. It is also known as pink eye. It is caused due to the inflammation of conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is the thin protective layer of the inner eyelid which also protects the white portion of the eye ball. Conjunctivitis can be caused due to infection of bacteria and virus. It can also be a result of some allergy, plugged tear duct or rigorous scratching of the eye. In this article, we will be discussing the bacterial conjunctivitis and whether it is contagious. Among all the causes of conjunctivitis, bacterial and viral infections are the most contagious ones.
Is it Contagious or Not?
Yes, bacterial conjunctivitis is contagious. But for how long, is yet another matter of concern. When you get to know that you are suffering from conjunctivitis, immediately consult a doctor. You must be treated with antibiotic drops or ointments in case of bacterial infection. Once the treatment is started, it will be contagious only for 24 hours.
You can start your daily work and can go in public. But till your treatment has not started, avoid going to public places as it can spread to other people. If you are not able to get relief from antibiotics then consult a doctor for assistance. Antibiotics are not effective on viral conjunctivitis and its treatment takes more time. Hence viral conjunctivitis is contagious for up to 14 days.
Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with the help of antibiotic drops or ointments. Although both eye drops and ointment can treat the infection, drops are considered to be the best option. This is because ointments are difficult to apply and can give you blurred vision for at least 20 minutes. The eye drops stay in the eye for a longer time as compared to the ointment. The treatment should be continued till the redness completely disappears. Clean your eyes regularly with the help of cotton swab dipped in warm water and then wipe it with a clean towel.
There are many antibiotics which are specially meant for different types of the bacteria which infect the eye. For example, Chloramphenicol is used to treat Gram Negative and Gram Positive bacteria, Fusidic acid is used against Staphylococcal infection, Gentamicin is used against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, etc. Apart from these there are many other antibiotics also which are used for the treatment.
How to Prevent it from Spreading
Following are some of the measures that can help you prevent the spread of this bacterial infection.
- Avoid touching your eyes with hands and use a clean towel to wipe or clean the eyes.
- Do not allow others to use your towel as it can give them the infection.
- Regularly wash your hands to avoid the spread of infection.
- Wash your clothes and change the pillowcase daily.
- Avoid using eye cosmetics. In case you are using them, avoid sharing.
- Avoid going to public places till the treatment starts.
If the condition gets critical then consult a doctor immediately. If you get the infection then take proper preventive measures to avoid its spread. Take care of your eye and get it treated as soon as possible.