Viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) is very contagious. Like a cold, it can spread easily from person to person. You can greatly reduce the risk of spreading it to someone else by following some simple good-hygiene steps.
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. 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.
Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread it to your other eye.
With clean hands, wash any discharge from around your eye(s) several times a day using a clean, wet washcloth or fresh cotton ball. Throw away cotton balls after use, and wash used washcloths with hot water and detergent, then wash your hands again with soap and warm water.
Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels often in hot water and detergent; wash your hands after handling such items.
Do not share personal items, such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye makeup, face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses and, contact lens containers, or eyeglasses.
Do not use the same eye drop dispenser/bottle for your infected and non-infected eyes.
Stop wearing contact lenses until your eye doctor says it’s okay to start wearing them again.
Replace eye makeup, eyedrop bottles, and contact lenses so you do not re-infect your eyes after the infection has resolved.
Do not use swimming pools.
You may use artificial tears / lubricating eyedrops as needed up to 4x/day to soothe the eyes. Do NOT use eyedrops like Visine for “red eyes”. Placing a cool towel over the eyes will also help with the swelling and irritation.
Viral conjunctivitis typically takes 1-2 weeks to resolve, and may go from one eye to the other eye. You should call back to be seen again if you are not improving after 2 weeks.