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How Adults Can Contract and Spread Pink Eye Unknowingly

pink eye in adults

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  • Adults and senior citizens may get pink eye through a variety of ways, such as touching surfaces infected with bacteria, or swimming in a pool that contains viruses without wearing goggles
  • If the pink eye is caused by an allergy, you can apply a cold compress to help soothe the swelling

Pink eye can affect people of all ages, from babies to adults. However, it tends to appear more among children and the elderly, most likely due to their weak immune systems.

Adults and senior citizens may get pink eye through various means. It’s possible that they’ve touched surfaces infected with bacteria, or taken a swim without wearing goggles in a pool that contains viruses. Droplets from the person sneezing next to you may also cause pink eye.

Symptoms of Pink Eye in Adults

The symptoms of pink eye in adults are similar to what children may get. Classic examples include red eyes, increased tear production and a discharge on the corner of the eye. Depending on the source of the inflammation, some unique symptoms may appear (Read more about the Symptoms of Pink Eye).

Watch Out for These Types of Pink Eye

There are four types of pink eye, two of which are contagious, while two are not:

  • Viral Conjunctivitis — Viral conjunctivitis is caused by an adenovirus, which targets organs lined with mucous membranes, causing respiratory-related illnesses such as flu. Since your eyes contain a mucous membrane for protection, there’s a possibility for them to become infected should an adenovirus latch onto them. This is a contagious type of pink eye.1
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis — The second type of contagious pink eye is caused by bacteria, which is commonly attributed to the Staphylococcus aureus strain. The symptoms caused by bacteria are very similar to adenoviruses. To determine the proper course of treatment, samples are usually taken from the discharge from your infected eye.2
  • Chemical conjunctivitis — Chemical conjunctivitis refers to noncontagious pink eye that’s caused by exposure to chemical-based irritants. Examples include smoke from vehicle exhausts, chlorine in swimming pools or chemical vapors from certain household products. This condition normally lasts for a day or two only.3
  • Allergic conjunctivitis — Pink eye may occur as a result of an allergic reaction, causing watery eyes along with itching. Similar to chemical conjunctivitis, this condition may last only a day or two and may quickly subside. Common allergy triggers include pollen, contact lenses, cosmetics and dust.4

Treatment and Prevention Methods for Pink Eye

When pink eye strikes, there are several things you can do to help relieve your symptoms. If the pink eye is caused by an allergy, you can apply a cold compress to help soothe the swelling. If the cause is bacterial, you can apply raw organic honey as an ointment to your eyes. Unfortunately, viral conjunctivitis has no known cure, but one study shows that honey can also relieve some of the redness and pus discharge while you wait for the symptoms to subside.5

Should you contract viral conjunctivitis, it’s important to practice safe hygiene to prevent it from spreading. If you’re sneezing due to the flu along with pink eye, you must cover your mouth to prevent droplets from landing onto surfaces that other people may touch. You should not share and borrow clothing and hygiene products such as towels with other people as well. Contagious bacteria or viruses may be present in the fabric, which can possibly spread pink eye if you’re not careful.


Pink Eye: Introduction

What is Pink Eye

Pink Eye in Children

Pink Eye in Adults

Is Pink Eye Contagious?

Pink Eye Duration

Pink Eye Causes

Types of Pink Eye

Pink Eye Symptoms

Pink Eye Treatment

Pink Eye Prevention

Pink Eye Diet

Pink Eye FAQ

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