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How did I get conjunctivitis??

Conjunctivitis or a viral or bacterial infection of the lining of your eyes is really common. Yet I am constantly amazed at how little my patients know about it compared to say something like a cold; like how people are often amazed that they even could get such a thing.

Most cases of conjunctivitis are due to viruses and the most common of these is the adenovirus. This is the same virus that gives you colds and the flu and is caught in exactly the same way- through infected droplets. However, instead of someone coughing or sneezing on you, you get it by touching something that has infected tears on it. For example, if a colleague had used your keyboard after wiping his eyes and then you used the keyboard and happened to touch your eyes, then you could get conjunctivitis.

Another poorly understood fact is that it takes usually 3-5 days for the conjunctivitis to come on after being infected. So don't go blaming people inappropriately for giving it to you if you only saw them the day before!

Most cases of conjunctivitis get better by themselves but supportive measures like regular artificial tears can help comfort. You will be infective for 10-14 days, so stay away from work and your loved ones. If it is isn't getting better especially after 3-4 days, definitely see your GP, optometrist or eye surgeon.

* Information on this blog is general in nature and should not be taken as professional medical advice or as a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional.

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