How Long Does Conjunctivitis Last? 7 Signs to Know

Pink eye is a common infection resulting in itchy, unpleasant, and red eyes. Bacteria, viruses, or allergies can cause pink eye.

Pink eye is incredibly contagious, both from germs and viruses. Adults and children with pink eye should stay home from work, school, or daycare until their symptoms disappear.

How long does conjunctivitis last? Continue reading

Depending on the kind of pink eye, recuperation time varies. It typically takes between 24 and 48 hours after starting antibiotics for bacterial pink eye symptoms to go away.

Pink eye caused by a virus can heal in a few days to more than a week. An allergic pink eye is usually easy to treat if the other symptoms of pink eye disappear. Symptoms of pink eye include:

  • A red eye
  • Irritation, itchiness, and a perception that something alien is in the eye
  • Having watery eyes or seeing yellow or green eye discharge
  • Watery discharge at night that makes it difficult to open your eyes in the morning
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Ocular oedema (in severe cases)
  • Blurred vision
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1. How Long Does Conjunctivitis Last?

The cause of pink eye conjunctivitis will determine how long it lasts. Typical conjunctivitis symptoms range from a few days to a few weeks. Wide different varieties of conjunctivitis can spread once the symptoms start, though.

Even with therapy, such as prescription antibiotic eye drops, bacterial conjunctivitis can still result in pink eye and linger for up to a month or longer.

However, 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment for this particular form of pink eye, patients should no longer be contagious.

It seems that individuals are not contagious throughout the conjunctivitis incubation period, which can last up to a few days between exposure and the onset of symptoms.

Your eyes should recover in 7 to 14 days. If a common viral infection causes your conjunctivitis, no other issues arise.

Even with treatment like prescription antibiotic eye drops, which can last up to a month or longer, conjunctivitis can still be bacterial.

However, 24 hours after antibiotic treatment, persons with acute conjunctivitis should no longer be contagious.

Depending on your type and how you handle it, pink eye can linger a while. Pink eye typically goes away within a few days to two weeks.

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2. Types of Pink Eye Conjunctivitis

The three main kinds of pink eye are allergic, viral, and bacterial:

2.1 Allergic Conjunctivitis

Itchy, red, and swollen eyes result from allergic conjunctivitis, which affects both eyes. Doctors can distinguish between the many types of the pink eye by the rarity of discharge, which is how pink eye typically manifests itself.

Maintaining eye moisture is one of the conjunctiva’s duties. When allergies are the cause of pink eye, it is not communicable.

2.1.1 Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms

In cases where allergies are to fault, pink eye is not contagious.

Usually, your eyes—both of them—will be affected. They include the following and range from minor to severe:

  • The main symptom is intense itching.
  • Eye color
  • Discharge of watery, whitish, or stringy mucus
  • Enlarged eyelids
  • Sweltering sensation
  • The sensation that something minor, like dirt, is stuck under your eyelid.

2.2. Viral Pink Eye

Viral infection from the nose to the eyes can cause viral pink eye in humans. Droplets from a cough or sneeze that hit the eye can also spread it.

A cold or upper respiratory illness might lead to viral pink eye. Viral conjunctivitis, caused by a virus commonly linked to an adenovirus, is the most prevalent type of pink eye (runny nose and common cold). It frequently spreads in crowded places, particularly schools, and is very contagious

The duration of viral pink eye can range from a few days to around two weeks, depending on the infection’s severity.

In most cases, viral conjunctivitis begins in one eye and progresses to the other. Typical signs include:

2.2.1. Viral Pink Eye Contagious Infection Symptoms

  • irritated eyes with a pink or red tint
  • Watery eye discharge that may also contain some mucus
  • mild discomfort, gritty feeling, eye irritation, and a burning feeling
  • mild sensitivity to light
  • The area around the eyelids was crusty when you first woke up.
  • enlarged eyelids
  • typical viral infection symptoms, such as a sore throat or runny nose

2.3. Bacterial Pink Eye Conjunctivitis

Pink eye caused by bacteria exists. Typically, the bacterium enters your eyes through your skin or respiratory system.

Contact lens users risk developing bacterial keratitis from an eye infection caused by bacteria (cornea). You shouldn’t wear contacts when you have conjunctivitis.

Between 50% and 75% of instances of conjunctivitis in children are caused by bacterial pink eye, the second most frequent kind of conjunctivitis after viral conjunctivitis.

2.3.1. Bacterial Pink Eye Conjunctivitis Symptoms

Depending on the underlying cause, some people could have additional symptoms like eye pain and visual problems. Bacterial conjunctivitis frequently attacks both eyes at once and presents with the symptoms listed below:

  • The eyes are crimson, either one or both.
  • Tearing up
  • Your eyes are scratchy, either one or both.
  • An uncomfortable feeling in one or both eyes
  • Thick, emerald-greenish discharge
How Long does Conjunctivitis Last
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2.4. Seven Signs a Person is Contagious

Pink eye symptoms continue to be present when a person is deemed contagious. Except for allergies, a relatively prevalent cause of pink eye, this is true in all circumstances.

Here are seven indicators that someone is still contagious:

  1. Tears coming from the eyes
  2. Eyelashes and lids with crust
  3. Inflammation near the eyes
  4. Scorching feeling
  5. Crying
  6. The whites of the eyes are either crimson or pink.
  7. Itchiness in the eyes

People are frequently asked or required to wait until their symptoms subside before returning to daycare, school, or place of employment.

Suggested Reading- 7 Disturbing Causes for Eye Watering Which Demand Your Attention Instantly

3. Treatment Options for Pink Eye

Most pink eye cases will go away independently in a few days without medical attention.

A medical expert will recommend antibiotic treatment for severe cases of bacterial conjunctivitis. After using eye drops for 24 hours, symptoms will become better.

Eliminating and minimizing environmental factors is the first step in treating allergic conjunctivitis. Artificial tears, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and over-the-counter antihistamines can help lessen allergic conjunctivitis symptoms.

For all forms of pink eye, resting while applying a cold compress can also reduce symptoms and pain.

The pink eye usually goes away on its own within a few weeks. Nevertheless, making a consultation with an optometrist, eye doctor, or other medical professional is a brilliant idea.

They’ll be able to identify the origin of your infection and recommend a treatment strategy to help you feel better.

Parents should take their newborn baby to the doctor as soon as pink eye is discovered on the newborn. A clogged tear duct may cause persistent watery flow, but the appearance is rarely red. Frequently, a blocked tear duct will unclog on its own.

In other instances, infants may have a more severe infection that needs medical care.

4. Pink Eye Prevention

The pink eye soon spreads. Maintaining excellent sanitizer, which includes washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes, is the ideal way to stay healthy.

To prevent pink eye, keep the following in mind:

1. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.

2. You shouldn’t share personal items like towels, blankets, pillowcases, eye makeup and brushes.

3. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water throughout the day.

4. Before and after using contact lenses or eye drops, wash your hands.

5. Furthermore, you should wash your hands if you come into contact with an infected person’s eyes, clothing, or other personal belongings.

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5. How Long Do Different Pink Eye Conditions Last?

Usually, within one to three weeks, the pink eye resolves itself. However, occasionally antibiotic eye drops are needed for bacterial pink eye.

To ease discomfort while you recuperate, you can also take simple steps at home, including applying a warm compress and using fake tears.

Pink eye spreads quickly and is highly contagious. You are still infectious if you still show signs of pink eye.

You are transferable for up to 24 hours after starting antibiotics if you have bacterial pink eye and are taking them.

It is not communicable to have pink eye brought on by irritants or allergies.

The symptoms of viral conjunctivitis typically get worse three to five days after the eye infection starts.

To minimize inflammation and swelling, you might require eye drops with decongestants or antihistamines for up to two weeks. When your eyes appear and feel normal once more, you are no longer contagious.

You could have allergic conjunctivitis if the source of your eye infection is not bacterial or viral.

In that instance, pink eye brought on by allergic reactions to pollen, dust, or animal dander may persist for a very long time, mainly depending on the season.

It’s unlikely that allergic conjunctivitis will go away on its own unless the trigger is eliminated or avoided.

You can buy eye drops for allergies at the drugstore or get a prescription from your eye doctor. Always consult an eye doctor if you’re unclear about your pink eyes.

6. Final Words

Bacteria or viruses frequently bring on a typical eye illness known as pink eye is typically not a condition that gets better, whether treated or not.

Antibiotics or antiviral medications may be required to treat more severe instances. Pink eye can be stopped from spreading by following proper hand hygiene practices and refraining from sharing personal belongings.

Pink eye is not frequently a severe problem, although being common and occasionally uncomfortable. Because it is very contagious when brought on by an infection, people should avoid contact with others until their symptoms subside.

It can often be challenging to tell if you have allergies or an upper respiratory disease, if you have itchy, inflamed eyes, or if it is a sign of pink eye. Discharge or crusting, in this case, could mean different things.

Since pink eye is highly contagious, you should often wash your hands, try not to touch your eyes, and avoid sharing towels with family members while you’re ill.

The most excellent strategy to promote the healing of pink eye is to take care of yourself and practice proper hygiene. Some bacterial pink eye conditions may call for antibiotic eye drops.

Apply cool compresses to the area around your eye to reduce pain and swelling; clean the discharge with a cotton ball.


Apeksha Soni

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