Amid conjunctivitis outbreak triggered by rains and waterlogging, experts are addressing some frequently asked questions to create awareness.
Conjunctivitis Outbreak Across the Country
Due to incessant rains, floods, and waterlogging, conjunctivitis cases have been on the rise across the country, from Delhi and Mumbai to Arunachal Pradesh. The rise in eye flu cases has been so concerning that schools in various districts of Arunachal Pradesh have been temporarily shut down. Conjunctivitis can cause redness, itchiness, and eye discharge, and one may find it difficult to open the affected eye in the morning due to the formation of a crust over it. The eyes may appear swollen, and the person may experience sensitivity to light. Conjunctivitis is often caused by viral or bacterial infections or allergies. However, it does not affect vision, and once treated or after running its course, the eyes recover completely.
How Conjunctivitis Spreads
Conjunctivitis spreads rapidly and can survive on surfaces like doorknobs, towels, tissues, etc., for an extended period. It can also spread quickly in poorly ventilated spaces. To avoid spreading the infection, one should refrain from touching surfaces after coming into contact with their eyes while suffering from conjunctivitis. Sharing personal items is also not recommended during an eye infection.
Expert Insights: FAQs about Eye Flu
In an interaction with HT Digital, Dr. Vijay Mathur, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, has answered some common questions about conjunctivitis:
Can I get eye flu by looking into someone’s eyes?
There is a common misconception that eye flu can spread just by looking into someone’s eyes. However, this is not entirely true. The main mode of transmission for eye flu, also known as conjunctivitis, is through direct contact with the discharge from an infected person’s eyes. Simply looking into someone’s eyes is not a significant means of transmission. The virus can spread when you touch your eyes after coming into contact with the infected person’s eye secretions.
Is it possible for eye flu infection to spread via air?
Recent research has shown that eye flu can be transmitted through airborne particles. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets containing the virus may come into contact with another person’s eyes, leading to infection. Although direct airborne transmission is not the primary mode of spread, it highlights the importance of wearing masks and practicing respiratory hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission through the air.
What makes eye flu so contagious? How does it spread?
The high contagiousness of eye flu can be attributed to its ability to survive on surfaces and its transmission through direct or indirect contact with infected eye secretions. The virus can remain viable on objects such as doorknobs, towels, or tissues, facilitating its spread. Additionally, crowded environments and close contact with infected individuals can contribute to the rapid transmission of the virus.
What are the first signs of eye flu? What are its most concerning symptoms?
The initial symptoms of eye flu include redness, itching, excessive tearing, and a gritty sensation in the eyes. As the infection progresses, patients may experience increased sensitivity to light and eye discharge. The most concerning signs of eye flu include severe eye pain, a drop in vision, and increased redness spreading around the cornea.
Precautions to Manage Eye Flu and Prevent Its Spread
To effectively manage eye flu and prevent its spread, it is important to follow these precautions:
- Avoid close contact with others, especially if you have symptoms of eye flu.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Refrain from touching or rubbing your eyes to prevent the virus from entering your eyes.
- Avoid sharing personal items like towels, pillows, eye makeup, or contact lenses.
- If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses until the infection clears up.
- Wear a mask to protect against airborne transmission, especially in crowded places.
- Seek medical advice promptly if you suspect you have eye flu or experience severe symptoms.