Pink Eye Symptoms in Adults

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Pink eye or conjunctivitis is defined as the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the transparent mucous membrane that covers the eye. Pink eye can affect people of all ages – from newborn to elderly. It is present all over the world and yes, even adults can be affected. However, it is always common in school age children because of the increased tendency that it can rapidly infect the classmates in school.

There are actually three main types of pink eye or conjunctivitis namely the bacterial, viral and allergic. This classification is based upon the causative agents of the pink eye. The pathognomic signs (specific signs that positively indicate the disease) of pink eye includes redness of the eye, itchiness, soreness, tearing and discharges of greenish to yellowish color (such in the case of bacterial pink eye). Some symptoms can vary in the different types of pink eye, though. For example, bacterial pink eye has a definitive color of discharges (greenish or yellowish) while allergic pink eye only has a teary or watery characteristic. Bacterial and viral are the only ones considered contagious because their causative agents are harmful microorganisms while allergic pink eye is caused by an allergic reaction to some things like pollen or dust.

Signs and symptoms of children and adults are not different from each other. However, adults because of their lifestyle might acquire conjunctivitis caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes. They can be infected through oral genital contact with someone infected with a Sexually Transmitted Disease or STD. The symptoms include watery discharge, possible redness, watery discharge and occasional sensitivity to light. Infected adults may not experience pain in the eye nor change in visual acuity. It is therefore important for adults to be educated with this type of conjunctivitis in order for them to know how to prevent it.

Newborns can also acquire this during birth and may start to manifest symptoms (redness in the eye and watery discharge) when he gets five to seven days old.

Parents, especially mothers, who are taking care of their child with pink eye, can easily acquire the infection if they don’t practice proper hygiene. Some steps for adults to avoid being infected with their child’s pink eye include proper hand hygiene. Washing the hands thoroughly with soap and running water before and after applying eye drops or ointment can help you with that. Tell your child not to put his or her hands on the affected eye in order to prevent the spread of the bacteria or virus. Avoid using or sharing the same things with your child or any infected member of the family. Usually, when the discharge has come in contact with personal stuffs such as a bath towel, the bacteria or virus can stay there just waiting for its next victim to touch it. It is therefore recommended to practice all of these to save you all the trouble the pink eye can bring.

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