Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, can occur for a number of reasons, each complete with a distinct set of pink eye symptoms. The most common causes for pink eyes are bacterial infections, viral infections, allergic reactions, or external irritants that do not fit the previous classifications. Often occurring to only one eye, the condition has received the nickname due to one eye appearing pink while the other appears normal. The condition can easily be spread from one eye to another by simply touching the eyes with the same fingers. In addition, bacterial or viral conjunctivitis can be spread to other people by direct contact or mutual contact with a contaminated surface.
One of the differences between symptoms from the different types of conjunctivitis is the texture and color of the discharge that comes from the eyes. With allergic conjunctivitis, the discharge often has a pale watery appearance and a rope-like texture. Viral infections often have a very watery discharge that is clear in color. The discharge from a bacterial problem is usually yellow or green and has more of a mucus-like texture. Other symptoms of pink eye for all types of conjunctivitis are redness, irritation, and watering of the eyes. Other symptoms that can occur to patients include the following adverse reactions: swelling of the eyelids, a feeling that there is a foreign object in the eye, sensitivity to bright lights, swollen lymph nodes directly in front of the ears, and eyelids that are stuck together after waking from sleep.
Pink eye remedies will differ greatly for the different types of conjunctivitis. Allergic, viral, and bacterial problems may require specific medications to treat the condition, antihistamines, antiviral drugs, and antibiotics respectively. There are many home remedies that are often touted as well that can help ease the condition. For allergic conjunctivitis, a cold compress may be used to provide relief. On the other hand, viral and bacterial infections are better treated by a warm compress. One of the best pink eye remedies used by many people is the application of honey. This can either be done directly upon the affected eye or diluted with water. Although it can be somewhat irritating, the honey will speed the healing process and will help to kill the infection in the case of a bacterial source.
There are many simple precautions that can be done to prevent both contracting conjunctivitis and spreading the condition as well as easing pink eye contagious concerns. Clean towels and washcloths should always be used as pathogens can remain on these items long after use. People who have pink eye contagious concerns should take care not to use towels and washcloths that appear to have already been used. Those persons who have frequent allergic reactions can have a skin test done to pinpoint exactly which substances cause a reaction. For pink eyes that result from chemical sources or other irritants, it is imperative to wear safety glasses while using dangerous chemicals or operating machinery that can emit foreign particles. Prevention is key, but once pink eye symptoms have been exhibited, treatment is the only remaining option.