5 Ways to Prevent the Spread of Pinkeye

May 7th 2016

Pinkeye is a nuisance that causes itchiness, redness and tearing, but with some precautions, you can help prevent the whole house from meeting the same fate. Be sure to also follow directions on any medicines prescribed by your doctor to speed the healing process.

Wash Your Hands Often

This is the most important step in preventing the spread of pinkeye. The Center of Disease Control recommends washing hands frequently for at least 40 seconds with warm water and soap to kill harmful germs.

Avoid Touching the Eye

Touching or rubbing the eye can spread the infection easily. Those around somebody with pinkeye should also take care not to touch their own eyes or faces. Wear gloves as a reminder if you have trouble with this guideline.

Wash Pillowcases and Towels

Any items such as pillowcases, towels, hand towels or wash clothes should be washed in hot water and detergent. Again, any time you handle these items, proper hand-washing should follow.

Clean Discharge From Around Eyes

Every few hours, use a wet cotton ball to dislodge any mucus or other discharge from the eye. Thoroughly wash your hands before and after this and discard the cotton ball immediately after use. Keeping the eye clean cuts down on the spread of viruses or bacteria.

Clean or Replace Eyewear and Make-up

If you have pinkeye, any make-up and contact lenses recently used on the eyes should be discarded, as they are prime hosts for viruses and bacteria. Do not wear contact lenses when you have pinkeye, as this further irritates the eye and makes it easier for the infection to spread. Clean eyeglasses and sunglasses thoroughly, and never share eyewear or make-up while infected.


Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection that causes swelling and redness of the eye's lining. Luckily, it is usually not serious and goes away within seven to 10 days. However, both the viral and bacterial versions of pinkeye are very contagious and there is no cure for them. Here are five ways to prevent the spread of pinkeye while you wait it out.

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