Pink eye affects entire country Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:00

As of September 10 there has been a countrywide outbreak of conjunctivitis, commonly know as pink eye, the ailment is caused by a bacteria or virus irritating the eyes. As of Tuesday September 26, a total of 1,666 cases have been reported to medical authorities. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 655 cases in Corozal; in Orange Walk there were 231; in Belize City there were 423; the Cayo district saw 272 cases; the Stann Creek District had 67 and the Toledo district 18.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include: Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid; watery eyes; thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep; itchy eyes; blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light.

The condition is highly contagious and epidemiologist, Dr. Ethan Gough says that infected persons can infect between 3 to 7 others. To mitigate the spreading the Ministry of Health advises persons with pink eye symptoms to visit their nearest health facility and has issued an advisory with the following guidelines:

•    Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Wash them especially before and after cleaning, or applying eye drops or ointment to your infected eye.

•   Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread the infection.

•     With clean hands, wash any discharge from around your eye(s) several times a day using a clean wet washcloth. Wash the used washcloth with hot water and soap, and then wash your hands again with soap and warm water.

•   Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels often with hot water and soap; wash your hands after handling such items.

•   Do not wear contact lenses until your eye doctor says it’s okay to start wearing them again.

•    Do not share personal items such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye and face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses and contact lens containers, or eyeglasses.

•   Avoid shaking hands with others.

•   Persons suffering pink eye should stay away from work, school and public places until the infection clears.

Pink eye infections typically last 5 days.