How long is Pink Eye Contagious

How long is pink eye contagious? Pink eye is caused by viruses, bacteria and allergic reactions. There are other causes of pink eye which include foreign bodies, animal dander, dust, smog and chemicals.

Pink eye is only contagious when it is caused by viruses and bacteria. There are many viruses and bacteria that can cause a pink eye. Both adults and children can develop a pink eye.

In most cases, the pink eye symptoms develop suddenly. One may have red eye with swollen eyelids and a discharge. Other associated symptoms may include cough, sneezing, nasal congestion and a nose drip. The symptoms of pink eye are most common on days 2-3 and often last for 7-10 day. In cases of viruses, the discharge is usually white or transparent. With bacterial pink eye, the discharge is often green or yellowish and cloudy. Most people notice a crusty eye discharge first thing in the morning and the eyes are difficult to open.
The pink eye contagious period is usually from the onset of symptoms and lasts until the symptoms disappear. In other words the pink eye contagious period is anywhere from days 2 to day 12. The virus is shed in the secretions and easily acquired by personal contact or sharing personal care products. Individuals can also transmit the virus through aerosolized droplets during sneezing or coughing. Thus, to avoid catching the virus or bacteria, it is essential to keep away from individuals who have an eye discharge. All items such as wash clothes towels or face products and soaps should not be shared as the virus and bacteria can easily be transferred. In some children, only one is eye may be initially affected but within a day or two, the other eye also begins to show symptoms.

How contagious is pink eye when caused by a virus? Well, data from young children indicate that viruses can be easily transmitted in 40%-60% of cases with skin contact or from touching contaminated items. How contagious is pink eye when caused by a bacteria? Unlike viruses, bacteria are less easily transmitted by inanimate objects but readily transmitted by aerosol droplets and close contact with the effect individual. The individual can only pass bacteria when there is a frank eye discharge.

All eye products should be discarded after the pink eye has resolved.

Pink eye is never contagious after an allergic reaction. The discharge does not contain any organisms and is harmless. Other non-contagious causes of pink eye include household detergents, sprays, smog and industrial chemicals.

The best way to avoid transmission of pink eye is to use preventive measures. If you have pink eye, avoid touching the eye and wash your hands frequently. Every time you touch the eye when applying medications or a warm compress, the hands should be washed. Wipe the countertops, tables, sinks and doorknobs with an alcohol disinfectant.

So in summary, “How long is pink eye contagious?”- as long as the individual has symptoms and has an eye discharge.