Self Care for Conjunctivitis

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Close up of a woman with brown eyes

Conjunctivitis, also known as red or pink eye, usually affects both eyes making them;

  • bloodshot
  • burn or feel gritty
  • produce pus that sticks to lashes
  • itch
  • water

A number of things can cause Conjunctivitis;

  • A bacterial or viral infection
  • An allergic reaction to a substance such as pollen or dust mites
  • Irritation from things like shampoo or a loose eyelash rubbing against the eye

Treatment isn’t usually needed for conjunctivitis because the symptoms often clear up within a couple of weeks.

There are however a few things you can do to self care at home to ease your symptoms.

  • Use clean cotton wool (one piece for each eye). Boil water and then let it cool down and then clean off crusts on your lashes by rubbing them gently.
  • Make a cold compress to press on your eyes for a few minutes to cool them down.
  • Remove contact lenses until the conjunctivitis has completely cleared up.

Your local Pharmacist can also recommend eye drops or antihistamines to help with the symptoms.

You don’t need to avoid work or school unless you or your child are feeling very unwell. If there are a few children with conjunctivitis at your child’s school, you may be asked to keep them at home. Advice for nurseries and school can be read here.

You can find your nearest pharmacy at NHS Choices.