Knoxville (WVLT) This cold weather is keeping many of us indoors.
In turn, sharing germs that spread viruses like the cold and flu.
Not as miserable, but just as contagious this time of year is pink eye.
Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard takes a closer look at why the eyes have it.
The obvious way to tell if you have pink eye, is if you have a pink eye.
That's the easy part.
There are several different types of pink eye, and determining which type your child has will help you decide if it's safe to send him or her back to school.
Commonly known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is very common, usually not serious and goes away in seven to ten days without medical treatment.
The way your eyes feel will often indicate what type of pinkeye you have.
Viral usually affects only one eye and causes excessive watering and a light discharge.
Bacterial affects both eyes and causes a heavy discharge, sometimes greenish.
Allergic affects both eyes and causes itching and redness in the eyes and sometimes the nose, as well as excessive tearing.
And giant papillary usually affects both eyes and causes contact lens intolerance, itching, a heavy discharge, tearing and red bumps on the underside of the eyelids.
Dr. Brent Fry, an optimist says, "the viral is very contagious. That's typically what most people will call pinkeye. And that's what you see spreading through the school, through workplaces."
Dr. Fry says never turn a blind eye to a pink eye.
f it's red more than a few hours, you should get medical treatment, it could be the sign of something more serious.
A doctor can give you a anti-viral drops and artificial tears to help you feel more comfortable while the infection goes away.
Dr. Fry continues, "rule of thumb is, if the eye is weeping, whether it be a watery discharge, or if it's a goopy, mucusy discharge, you're pretty contagious at that point."
Because there is usually no treatment, preventing its spread is important because people with infectious pinkeye shouldn't attend school or go to work until symptoms improve, typically three to five days.
Poor hand-washing is the main cause of the spread of pinkeye.
Sharing something, like a washcloth or towel, with a person who has pinkeye can spread the infection.
Not to be confused with pink eye, dry eye is very common this time of year, because it's often caused by the dry heat we use to warm or homes.
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