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Do I Have Pink Eye or Is It an Allergic Reaction?

Feb 25, 2022

Urgent Care

Do I Have Pink Eye or Is It an Allergic Reaction?

Are your eyes itchy? It may be allergies if you’re experiencing itchiness and redness in your eyes! But it could also be an eye infection called conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye).

Some symptoms of allergies and pink eye are similar, so how do you distinguish between the two? In this blog, we help you understand the difference between pink eye and allergies.

What's the difference between allergies and pink eye?

A little-known fact is that allergies are also a form of pink eye. However, allergy-related pink eye cases are non-contagious.

The symptoms of different kinds of pink eyes vary quite a bit. Here’s a look into the symptoms of pink eye vs. allergies

  • BacterialPink Eye - Redness, soreness, pus-filled eyes.
  • ViralPink Eye –Burning sensation, redness, watery discharge.
  • Allergy - Itchy, watery, puffy eyes and sensitivity to light.

Causes of Pink Eye vs.Allergies

Contagious, non-allergic pink eye is a result of bacterial and viral infection. Typically, a pink eye can be caused by

  • Bacterial inflammation can be caused by Staphylococcus Aureus, Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Moraxella catarrhalis. Gonorrhea and chlamydia may also cause more serious pink eye infections.
  • Viral inflammation can result from the same viruses that cause the common cold.
  • Allergies can have various contributing factors such as seasonal or environmental causes, dust, pet fur, mites, pollen, and molds.

Treating Pink Eye

  • Viral infections rarely require medications and usually heal on their own.
  • Bacterial infections require antibiotic eye drops. The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the condition. You must finish any antibiotic course prescribed to prevent the infection from recurring.
  • Certain eye drops or ointments can help alleviate the puffiness and redness if it's due to allergies. It can also help drain out the toxins from the eye.

How to Avoid the SpreadingPink Eye

The following steps to maintain your personal hygiene are crucial to preventing spreading pink eye infections

  • Avoid touching the eyes frequently. Clean your hands carefully before you touch your eyes.
  • Don’t share eye makeup, contact lenses, and face towels.
  • Never use expired eye makeup products
  • Use clean tissues or towels to wipe your eyes and face.
  • Clean your contact lenses regularly in distilled water and replace them as instructed.
  • Sleep on clean sheets and pillowcases.

Also read: High Protein Foods: The Best Health Boosters

When Should You See a Doctor?

Conjunctivitis infection typically clears up within 7-10 days. Consult a specialist if it doesn’t. If your eyes are crusty and you notice pus formation, the infection may be bacterial, and you’ll need antibiotics to cure it.

Conjunctivitis in toddlers is more dangerous than in adults and requires immediate medical attention. Other symptoms that indicate a more serious condition include

  • Pain in one or both eyes and your condition deteriorates
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • General malaise, fever, swollen glands
  • Experiencing an opaque cornea
  • Any pre-existing eye condition

If your pink eye infection is not healing or causing you distress, visit our team at MI Express Urgent Care for treatment and to avoid any further complications.

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