Ready to hit the pool? Is the ocean calling your name? Watch out for this week’s What’s Going Around: Conjunctivitis (a.k.a. Pink Eye).
You may think that pink eye is most often a problem when kids are in school, but Centra Care docs see just as many cases of conjunctivitis during the summer months.
The reason? Chemical irritants like chlorine in swimming pools, and infection from bacteria or virus in oceans and lakes, or poorly chlorinated pools.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the lining of the eye. While many cases of pink eye are bacterial or viral, not all pink eye is the result of infection. Noninfectious pink eye can come from exposure to irritants like chlorine in pools or from allergies. Infectious pink eye is caused from certain bacteria and viruses that are highly contagious and can be spread in contaminated water.
Avoiding Pink Eye:
Whether the pool is in your community, at a hotel, or in your friend’s backyard, it’s difficult to know the water quality. To avoid getting pink eye, wear eye protection, like swim goggles. This will also limit exposure to irritants from an over-chlorinated pool.
Don’t overlook plastic or inflatable wading pools. Don’t let the water sit overnight. Be sure to change the water daily.
Before stepping foot in oceans or lakes, be aware if there are any postings/warnings from local officials on the quality of the water. If you suspect you have pink eye, wash your hands often, don’t touch your eyes, don’t go swimming, and see a doctor. If bacteria caused the pink eye, prescription eye drops may be needed to heal the infection.