Prevent Conjunctivitis and Styes

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About Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis is an inflammatory condition of the membrane covering the eye and part of the eyelid. This common disease is caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies, or irritants (cigarette smoke, and other air pollutants).

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Sufferers usually experience symptoms like red, itchy, swollen, teary, sensitive or pus filled eyes and would all agree, it's a nasty condition to have. Whether you're suffering from the condition now, or if you just want to know how to prevent contracting this disease, this article will give you some simple, everyday steps that will help prevent or treat conjunctivitis for you and your family.

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How to Prevent Conjunctivitis

  1. 1
    Don't share towels or washcloths.
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  2. 2
    Never use anyone else's makeup.
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  3. 3
    When using eye drops - never touch the tip to your eyes.
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  4. 4
    Don't keep eye make-up like mascara or eyeliner for more than three months.
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  5. 5
    Always wear goggles when swimming, even in chlorinated pools.
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  6. 6
    You can use air conditioning in your home or car instead of leaving Windows open
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    This will reduce the risk of irritants in the air coming in to contact with your eyes.
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What You Can Do if You Have Conjunctivitis

  • Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes. If you absolutely have to rub your eyes to relieve discomfort, wash your hands before and after contact.
  • If you're around a child with conjunctivitis, remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Do not share washcloths or towels while infected.
  • Pillowcases and bed linens should be changed daily.
  • Applying a warm or cool compresses over your closed eyes will relieve discomfort and itching.
  • Don't use contact lenses during the course of the infection.
  • Over the Counter eye drops or boric-acid washes can relieve itchiness.
  • If there is inflammation around the eyes or under the eyelids; over the counter antihistamines can help.
  • Whatever eye drops you're using, do not touch the tip to your eye, or you'll just keep re-infecting your eyes.
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About Styes

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Styes are caused by a bacterial infection of the tiny glands near the base of the eyelashes. They almost never result in damage to the eye or vision, and are easily rid of when treated properly.

A Stye typically starts out looking like a pimple on the eyelid: a small, red, tender and swollen bump. They eventually grow to full size over a day or so. The Stye will then fill with pus and rupture within the course of a week. More than one Stye may occur if the bacteria spreads. Styes can occur underneath the eyelid but this is very uncommon.

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Styes are common enough that many people can identify them or their own. Occasionally, Styes can be confused with a chalazion, a swelling caused by a blocked gland on the eyelid. Unlike a Stye, a chalazion is painless, harmless and is usually not helped by self-care.

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What You Can Do if You Have a Stye

  1. 1
    Heat
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    Wring out a clean washcloth, or a cloth soaked in warm or hot water. Place it directly on the affected (closed) eye. For best results, do this three or four times a day for about 10 minutes each time. The Stye will then rupture and drain, which usually occurs after about two days. Sometimes a Stye may fade away without ever coming to a head and draining.
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  2. 2
    Combat the contagious nature of a Stye
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    Since Styes can be spread from one eye to another, and from one person to another through close contact, wash your hands frequently.
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  3. 3
    Never pinch the Stye to remove the pus, since this may spread the infection
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  4. 4
    A doctor may prescribe an antibiotic solution applied directly to the eyelid
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    Oral antibiotics are usually reserved for Styes that do not respond to other treatments, are very large, or are located inside the eyelid.
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  5. 5
    A particularly stubborn Stye may need to be lanced and drained by a surgeon
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    Never try to do this on your own.
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Are Styes Contagious when sharing a bed?

Styes are caused by a bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus. This particular bacteria is contagious and can be passed from one person to the next, however it is unlikely that a person who has a healthy immune system and practices proper hygiene will contract an infection due to the bacteria.

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While the bacteria that can cause a Stye is not an airborne bacteria, and the rate of contracting an actual infection is low, it is still recommended that when sharing a bed with someone who has a Stye, it is best to have your own pillow and blanket to avoid direct contact with the bacteria. While you will not necessarily contract an infection, the bacteria can still be passed from one person to the next through items they have both been in contact with.

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Will the Infections from a Stye Spread in the Swimming Pool?

There's no simple 'yes' or 'no' answer, as there are many variables. In a non-chlorinated pool like a kiddie pool, it's very easy for the Stye causing bacteria to spread, but in large chlorinated pools, it's not as likely. It also depends on factors like chlorine levels and the general cleanliness of the pool. To reduce the risk of spreading or coming in to contact with bacteria, you should always use goggles as protection when in a swimming pool, and if you have a Stye, be kind and don't use a public pool until it's cleared up.

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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • If you have a chronic illness or take OVC drugs, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medications.
  • Styes and conjunctivitis are two common sources of eye pain.
  • Conjunctivitis and Styes are both contagious.
  • If you have conjunctivitis or a Stye and you touch your eyes, always wash your hands. It's even a good practice to wash your hands periodically throughout the day with soap and water, as we often touch our eye unconsciously.
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Questions and Answers

Can you get Styes in your eye from swimming with your eyes open?

No, this is not possible for the chlorine in water will in fact kill diseases, germs and bacteria which is not how a Stye infection is started up. A Stye infection comes from obtaining bacteria in your eye and a swimming pool that is chlorinated perfectly will not give off this bacteria but except kill the bacteria.

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Yes. Not all pools are chlorinated.

I swim laps at my club 2-3 times a week without goggles, and have developed what I believe is a Stye that is slowly going away.

Does this make sense, and what is the best treatment for the Stye - eye drops or warm compresses?

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Can I bring my son to a pool even though he has a Sty?

There will be other kids in the pool.

Given there's a chance other children could also get a Stye, please don't do that. Wait until the Stye has cleared up.

How do I get rid of a stye quickly?

I feel some pain on my lower lid, and when I blink it hurts. Is there something I can do to quickly resolve this situation.

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Article Info

Categories : Eyes

Recent edits by: Eng, Aceflame, Alma

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