Keeping an eye on pink eye

What's Going Around week of July 11th, 2016

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Waking up with your eyes swollen shut with crust or blood shot can be scary, especially for young children. But pink eye is what's going around this week and catching it is as easy as touching a door knob or rubbing your eyes.

Pink eye can be caused by three different things: bacteria, viruses, and allergens.

"A lot of times in Florida we have a lot of smoke in the summer and  fires and that can cause a conjunctivitis," said Dr. Vandana Bhide with Mayo Clinic.

Viral pink eye can last seven to 10 days so you should keep children out of class or summer camp to avoid infecting other children. If you have other children in the same household, it's important that you're extra careful.

"It's important not to share for example washcloths or towels or any personal things between kids," said Dr. Bhide.

Keep your hands washed and avoid touching your eyes. A warm washcloth can help in the morning to clean the gunk that forms  on your eye throughout the night but, make sure you wash any towels or pillow cases with hot water to kill the bacteria.

Avoid wearing makeup - and of course, don't share it.The same goes for contacts. Don't wear contacts until the virus is completely cleared and make sure you wear a new set.

Unfortunately there isn't a lot of treatment for viral infections. Doctors say you have to let it run its course. Using over the counter medication like an antihistamine and saline eye drops can help ease symptoms.  It's important that you see a doctor when you start noticing changes in vision, eye pain, or intense redness. A bacterial infection will require medicated eye drops.

What's Going Around

In Duval County at the Care Spot on the Southside: along with a spike in pink eye, they're still dealing with all that strep throat from last week and several children with ear infections.

In Clay County at the Care Spot in Middleburg: doctors are treating patients with sinus infections and sore throats.

In St. Johns County at the Healing Arts Urgent Care in St. Augustine: it's bug bites, pink eye and sinusitis.

In Nassau County at the Care Spot in Yulee: watch out for pink eye there as well as strep throat. They've also had Mono reported this week.

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