Preventing the Spread of Conjunctivitis

Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) are very contagious, they can spread easily from person to person. You can greatly reduce the risk of getting conjunctivitis or spreading it to someone else by following some simple steps for good hygiene.

If You Have Conjunctivitis

If you have conjunctivitis, you can help limit its spread to other people by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Wash them especially well before and after cleaning, or applying eye drops or ointment to, your infected eye. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread it to your other eye.
  • Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels often in hot water and detergent; wash your hands after handling such items. Use paper towels to dry your hands. Do not touch your eyes. Wipe surfaces you touch such as computers, counter tops, etc.
  • Stop wearing contact lenses until your eye doctor says it’s okay to start wearing them again.
  • Clean eyeglasses, being careful not to contaminate items (like hand towels) that might be shared by other people.
  • It is generally recommended to replace your contact lenses, consult your eye doctor.
  • Do not share personal items such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses.
  • With clean hands, wash any discharge from around your eye(s) several times a day using a clean, wet washcloth or paper towel. Throw away the paper towels after use, and wash used washcloths with hot water and detergent, then wash your hands again with soap and warm water.
  • Finish all medications as directed.
  • Do not use swimming pools.