Headline — 27 September 2017 — by Adele Ramos
Contagious pink-eye plaguing Belize

The Ministry of Health says that persons with “pink eye” should stay away from work, school and public places until the infection clears

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 25, 2017–The Ministry of Health has issued an alert about a rise in cases of conjunctivitis, better known as “pink eye,” which it says has especially been cropping up in northern and central Belize.

The concern with “pink eye” is that it is a communicable disease, easily spread from person to person.
Symptoms 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 and blurred vision; and increased sensitivity to light.

There are ways to reduce the spread of conjunctivitis. According to the Ministry of Health, precautions against the spread of pink eye include frequent hand washing with soap and warm water, especially before and after cleaning infected eyes, or applying eyedrops or ointment to the eyes; and minimizing the touching or rubbing of infected eyes, which can worsen the condition or spread the infection.

Other precautions recommended are as follows:
(1) 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.

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

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

(4) 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.

(5) Infected people should avoid shaking hands with others.

The Ministry of Health says that people with “pink eye” should stay away from work, school and public places until the infection clears. Normally, this can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Affected persons are urged to seek medical attention at their nearest health facility.

According to the Office of the Director of Health Services, “…in most instances, due to the viral origin, no specific treatment is warranted and the use of eye drops isn’t necessarily part of the treatment.”

It adds that good hygiene of hands and infected eyes resolves the majority of cases.

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