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"Pinkeye,” the common name for conjunctivitis, is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the outer, normally clear, covering of the sclera (white part of the eye). The eye is usually red because the blood vessels of the conjunctiva are deleted. Usually, there is a discharge present as well.

Conjunctivitis is most typically caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. Viral infections are far more common however. It may last one to two weeks and is sometimes associated with "flu like” symptoms. Antibiotics do not help viral infections but are used to treat the less common bacterial infections.

Viral conjunctivitis is often very contagious. People who are infected should not share pillows, towels, or makeup, and should wash their hands every time they touch their eyes. They may need to stay secluded, away from school and work, and should stay out of swimming pools.


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