Most parts of our country are rejoicing with the start of the rainy season. The parched earth assumes a rejuvenated new appearance and the farmer heaves a sigh of relief. However, like all the other seasons, it does bring with it some specific risks and illnesses.”Eye Flu” or Conjunctivitis is one such affliction. Every year, around this time, the incidence of eye flu increases dramatically.
Conjunctivitis is an infection & inflammation of the eye membrane on the white portion of the eyeball and under the eyelids. It is usually caused by virus or bacteria which are highly contagious. Stagnant water, unfinished construction, air pollution and humid weather are perfect breeding conditions for virus and bacteria.
Conjunctivitis causes redness, itching, discharge (watery or thick), crusting that forms overnight, eye ache, sensitivity to light and gritty feeling in the eyes. A burning sensation is also quite common. It may be preceded or followed by fever, cold or sore throat in a few patients. In rare cases, pus formation may be noticed inside the eye. Conjunctivitis is generally not a serious problem. But it is important to consult at any best eye hospital, because if the flu is severe and not treated in time, it may affect the cornea and cause keratitis or ulcers affecting vision. Bacterial conjunctivitis is generally treated with antibiotic drops or ointment along with anti-inflammatory eye drops. Oral antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve symptoms.
Some tips for managing the disease:
· Wash your hands with soap & water or use hand sanitizer throughout the day.
· Individuals having conjunctivitis must pay particular attention to hygiene-do not share clothing, personal items, toiletries, etc.
· Do not touch your eyes repeatedly.
· Avoid public places and swimming.
· Frequent washing of hands with soap and water or sanitizer should be ensured by patients and everybody else around them.
· Frequent eye wash with cold filter water & cold compression with ice packs helps in relieving symptoms.
· To wipe eyes, use tissue paper and dispose of it properly in the dustbin.
· Wear sunglasses to avoid glare and decrease accidental eye contact with fingers.
· Antibiotic and anti inflammatory eye drops to be used as prescribed by eye specialist-preferably have a separate set of eye drops for each eye.
· People with conjunctivitis should avoid public places and handshakes, sharing their clothing, bedding or sunglasses.
· Do not rub your eyes.
· Temporarily avoid the usage of contact lenses.
· Do not share eye drops -it can cause cross contamination.
· Do not use steroid eye drops or over the counter medicines from chemist without seeing an Ophthalmologist.
· One can get conjunctivitis by looking at a person suffering with same-it is not an airborne disease and spreads only through contact.
· Using any eye drop prior can prevent conjunctivitis-there is no preventive anti-viral eye drop.
Note:People with conjunctivitis can join back offices & school after few days-there should be no watering or matting of eyelashes by this time.