The front of 5th Street School on a sunny day.

CONJUNCTIVITIS (PINK/RED EYE)

Conjunctivitis is a acute condition characterized by redness of the eye(s).  There can be many causes, not all of which are communicable.  The cause may be a bacterium, virus, foreign body, or an allergy.  It is important to differentiate an eye allergy from a infectious condition.  An allergy which causes redness of the eye is usually accompanied by itching and watery eyes as well as other signs of allergies such as a runny nose or headache,  If there is any questions as to cause, refer to a physician for evaluation.

 

DESCRIPTION:

A clinical syndrome beginning with tearing, irritation, and hyperemia of the conjunctivae of one or both eyes.  This may be followed by swelling of the lids, photophobia, and a mucopurulent discharge.

 

INCUBATION:

From 24-72 hours (bacterial).

From 12 hours to 3 days (viral).


 

PERIOD OF COMMUNICABILITY:

During the course of the active infection.


 

TRANSMISSION:

Contract with discharge of conjunctivae or upper respiratory tract of infected person.  Indirectly through contact with contaminated fingers, clothing, eye makeup applicators, etc.


 

CONTROL OF SPREAD:

Personal hygiene, good hand washing, and avoidance of rubbing of the infected eye(s) helps to control spread.

Exclude the child from school until adequately treated or eye(s) clear.  For a bacterial infection, the physician may prescribe an eye ointment which varies according to infecting organism.  Viral conjunctivitis requires exclusion from school until the eye clears; which usually occurs in 2 to 3 days.  There is no available medication treatment for viral eye infections.

 

HEALTH  EDUCATION:

Conjunctivitis may be confused with an eye allergy.  With conjunctivitis, there is usually eye discomfort or pain; an allergy is more likely to itch and have watery eyes.  Do not self-medicate eye conditions.  A physician should be consulted for cases of eye discomfort.