At this time of year you may notice friends and family members with at least one pink eye. This isn’t a colourful contact lens, it’s Conjunctivitis, an eye infection that commonly occurs during the rainy season when bacteria thrives.
While both bacteria and viruses cause conjunctivitis, the Ophthalmology Centre in Vientiane has found that bacteria are almost always the cause of the cases it encounters.
Conjunctivitis resulting from a bacterial infection is not as severe as that caused by a virus. People can expect their eyes to return to normal within two weeks if they use eye drops regularly. Even so, bacterial conjunctivitis can be serious if it is not treated in the correct way. Viral conjunctivitis is very dangerous because it can spread from one person to another through the air and can be fatal. However, the viral form is rare in Laos.
It’s also advised to stay at home during treatment to reduce the spread of the infection to other people either at school or in the workplace. At home, it is advisable not to share clothing, washcloths or towels with anyone in the household who has conjunctivitis.
Last but not least it’s important to keep one’s hands clean to avoid the spread of the bacteria. Hands are the major carriers of the bacteria and virus because they come in frequent contact with our eyes.
Parents are advised to keep an eye on their children and not let them play in ponds, streams, rice fields or rivers to avoid getting conjunctivitis from these water sources at this time of the year.
People who have had conjunctivitis once risk getting re-infected if they don’t keep clean and ignore medical advice.
Source: Vientiane Times