Infections can run rampant in a household, especially among younger family members. One of the most common infections that attacks families is pink eye, which usually picks up speed during the colder months. We put together answers to some of the most common questions about pink eye so you know what to do if one of your loved ones gets infected.

What is pink eye?

Pink eye is a common infection among children, usually noticed because of the distinguishing red/pink color found on the sclera (white part of the eyeball). The name derives from this most common symptom, but is also known as conjunctivitis. This infection is either bacterial, viral, chemical or allergic depending on how a person became infected. More than likely, if you find yourself or a family member infected with pink eye it is the viral strain of the infection.

What are the symptoms of pink eye?

The infection actually attacks a person’s eyelid but ends up making the white portion of an eye inflamed. The redness is often followed by itchiness and a rough feeling in the eye. Another common symptom is thick discharge that usually appears to be yellow or a light green. Some have reported discharge that is thin and clear, but that is not as common. Additionally, you might experience difficulty opening your eyes in the morning, as the eyelids tend to get stuck together due to the dried discharge.

Is pink eye contagious?

Yes! Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and any person who is infected should avoid public areas along with sharing bedding and pillows with family members. It is very important to keep the virus contained, so staying home is your best option.

The CDC recommends washing your hands as often as possible. The most common way pink eye is spread is when an infected person touching his or her eye and doesn’t wash his or her hands afterward. Be conscious of others and your surroundings by frequently washing your hands or using hand sanitizer.

The CDC also recommends that if you use makeup, contact lenses, or wear glasses that you do not let others use them in order to avoid more spreading of germs.

How is pink eye treated?

Most of the time pink eye is a virus that simply needs to run its course, so treatment is minimal. It can take up to three weeks to clear out of your eye, so it is important to remember to not rub or scratch your eyes even though that might be difficult. You can use cool compresses and artificial tears to reduce the irritation.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you or a family member might have pink eye. While the infection will most likely not have lasting effects, a visit to your doctor will rule out more serious causes of the infection and to help reduce symptoms.

Find the closest Velocity Urgent Care near you to see a doctor if you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of pink eye. We offer convenient, timely care for patients. Velocity Urgent Care provides walk-in, extended hours’ service for most minor medical conditions in the Hampton Roads area, including Carrolton, Gloucester, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg. Most insurance plans are accepted, and no appointment is ever needed. Reserve your spot online today!