Conjunctivitis (bacterial)

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Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies. It usually gets better in a couple of weeks without treatment, but we offer a variety of different products to help you manage your symptoms. Read on to find out more...

What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is redness and soreness due to inflammation of the clear covering (the conjunctiva) over the white of the eye and the eyelids. The conjunctiva is normally clear and transparent but if you have conjunctivitis it will become red and angry-looking.

It usually affects both eyes and makes them:

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

How can I avoid spreading conjunctivitis?

Bacterial conjunctivitis is infectious and can be spread from person to person. To reduce the chances of spreading the condition, remember to wash your hands regularly with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. (blog about washing hands) It is also advisable to wash your pillows and face cloths in hot water and detergent. Don’t share towels or pillows and avoid rubbing your eyes. You do not need to stay home from work or school unless you or your child are feeling very unwell.

Should I seek medical advice?

There are things you can do to help ease your symptoms. Use clean cotton wool (1 piece for each eye). Boil water and then let it cool down before you:

  • gently rub your eyelashes to clean off crusts
  • hold a cold flannel on your eyes for a few minutes to cool them down

Do not wear contact lenses until your eyes are better.

Treatment will depend on the cause of your conjunctivitis.

If it’s a bacterial infection you might be prescribed antibiotics by your GP. But these will not work if it’s caused by a virus (viral conjunctivitis) or an allergy.

Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also cause conjunctivitis. This type takes longer to clear up.

If you have taken care to follow the above self care advice but your conjunctivitis persists, it is advisable to speak to a pharmacist. We can give you advice and suggest eye drops or antihistamines to help with your symptoms. Please note, if you require treatment for a child under 2 years old, you’ll need a prescription from your GP.

Next steps…

If you are concerned that you may have conjunctivitis, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by booking a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced pharmacists for advice and support.

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