Eye flu, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and the white part of the eye. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergies, or irritants.
Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of eye flu. It is highly contagious and is spread through contact with the secretions from an infected person’s eye, such as tears, mucus, or discharge. It can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as towels, pillowcases, or eye makeup.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is less common than viral conjunctivitis, but it can be more serious. It is also spread through contact with the secretions from an infected person’s eye, but it can also be spread through contact with contaminated water, such as swimming pool water.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. It is caused by an allergic reaction to something in the environment, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander.
Irritant conjunctivitis is also not contagious. It is caused by exposure to an irritant, such as smoke, dust, or chemicals.
The symptoms of eye flu vary depending on the cause. However, common symptoms include:
- Redness of the eyes
- Itching of the eyes
- Watery eyes
- Thick, sticky discharge from the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Pain in the eyes
If you think you have eye flu, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment. There is no specific treatment for viral conjunctivitis, but it usually goes away on its own within a few weeks. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotics. Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamines or eye drops. Irritant conjunctivitis usually goes away on its own once the irritant is removed.
Here are some tips to help prevent the spread of eye flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes.
- Do not share eye makeup or towels with other people.
- If you wear contact lenses, clean and disinfect them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Avoid swimming if you have eye flu.
- If you have eye flu, stay home from work or school until your symptoms have cleared up.
Eye flu is a common and usually harmless condition. However, it can be contagious and can lead to complications, such as corneal abrasions or secondary infections. By following the tips above, you can help prevent the spread of eye flu and protect your eyes from infection.