Adenovirus causes spike in pink eye

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

Adenovirus causes spike in pink eye

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's highly contagious, highly uncomfortable, and doctors are seeing a high number of patients with it.

More cases of viral conjunctivitis have been reported this week and they've been linked to  adenovirus.

Most patients are surprised when they're diagnosed because they think it's just pink eye.

The CareSpot in Yulee says the virus leads to cold symptoms and they've had several patients with red and swollen eyes. 

The itching and swelling is similar to what experts are seeing in Duval County. Jennifer Hickman is a family nurse practitioner at the CVS Minute Clinic in Arlington. She says the virus is kind of like the flu, but in your eye. 

The most common eye symptoms of adenoviral conjunctivitis are red eyes (both the conjunctivae and the sclera), watery drainage, mild swelling of the eyelids, and discomfort of the eye. Symptoms range from mild to severe.  

"Adenovirus doesn't just affect the eye, it can actually cause upper respiratory symptoms as well- even gastroenteritis symptoms and we've been seeing a lot of that," said Hickman.

‚ÄčAntibiotic eye drops won't treat the symptoms so the virus has to run it's course.

The virus typically lasts one to two weeks which can be a long time if you're uncomfortable. Hickman says using a warm compress can help with the discomfort while a cold compress can help with swelling. 

Experts at the CVS Minute Clinic say the best way to prevent spread of infection is frequent hand-washing, avoiding contact with the infected eye(s), and wiping surfaces down with a disinfectant wipe. 

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