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How Do I Avoid a Pink Eye Infection?

Lainie Petersen
Updated May 17, 2024
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To avoid a pink eye infection, you should first understand the various types of pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, and how they can occur or be transmitted. If you are attempting to avoid a viral or bacterial form of conjunctivitis, you should limit your contact with people who have the condition, be cautious about your use of towels and other linens, and not use any cosmetics that are not yours. On the other hand, if you are concerned about a non-contagious form of pink eye, such as that which is caused by allergies, you will need to protect your eyes from common sources of irritation. It is always a good idea to speak to a doctor if your eyes are irritated or you suspect that you have a pink eye infection.

A pink eye infection may be caused by a virus or bacteria. While it is very contagious, the condition doesn't always require medical treatment and often rectifies itself. If you work with children, the general public, or are aware that someone in your office or household has a pink eye infection, you should take some basic sanitary precautions to avoid contracting the condition. Wash your hands frequently and avoid handling or using linens, washcloths, or tiles that have been used by somebody who has or may have a pink eye infection. Never share cosmetics with anyone else, particularly those intended for the eyes such as mascara or eyeshadow, and throw any eye makeup out if you suspect that it has been contaminated.

It is possible for someone to contract a pink eye infection while he has a cold or upper respiratory tract infection. This type of infection can be caused by exposure to nasal discharge after a sneeze. If you are sneezing or are around someone who is sneezing, be sure to wash your hands frequently and also cover your nose and mouth during a sneeze, as this can prevent mucus droplets from entering and infecting your eyes.

If you are concerned about contracting non-contagious pink eye, as the result of dry eyes or an eye allergy, you should take steps to avoid eye irritants. For example, you may wish to use cosmetics that are especially formulated for people with sensitive eyes, and be sure that you regularly throw out old eye cosmetics, as these can become contaminated and cause irritation. If you regularly have difficulty with dry eyes, talk to your doctor about possible treatment, including eye drops or artificial tears. Again, talking to your doctor may help you find treatment solutions that are affordable and do not have any significant side effects.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.
Discussion Comments
By bluedolphin — On Jul 09, 2014

I got pink eye from my nephew who got it from other kids in kindergarten. I was trying to be careful but I might have touched my face after holding him. So I guess the bacteria went from his face to my hand to my face, and eventually my eye. Anyway, I'm washing my hands often now. I'm avoiding touching my eye or face and I'm not meeting any friends or family. I don't want it to spread to more people.

By candyquilt — On Jul 08, 2014

@donasmrs-- I'm not sure about dry eyes as a cause. I think that's similar to allergic pink eye and staying away from pollen and other irritants is a good start. Using lubricant eye drops regularly may also help, but it should not be shared with anyone.

I think that the bacteria and virus that cause pink eye are rather specific. So if you are not exposed to them, you won't get pink eye. So if you don't have the infection now and if you don't share your makeup, there is no reason why you should get it.

That being said, bacteria that's naturally found on our skin can enter and multiply to large numbers in makeup. For example, mascara is a great place for bacteria to thrive and the bacteria from our eyes and eyelashes do grow to large numbers in mascara after several months. This is why mascara should be thrown out after six months.

By donasmrs — On Jul 08, 2014

Can dry eyes cause pink eye? What can be done to avoid it in that case? And is it possible to get pink eye from makeup that no one else uses?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
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