OUTBREAK OF CONJUNCTIVITIS


PRESS RELEASE

The Ministry of Education has received the following advisory from the Chief Medical Officer.

The Ministry of Health, Basseterre, continues to receive reports of children and adults experiencing “pink eyes” or “red eyes”.

The Office of the Chief Medical Officer confirms an increase in the number of cases of Conjunctivitis or inflammation of the lining of the eyes which causes them to appear pink or red.
(A media advisory has been issued).

The inflammation of “pink or red eye” clears by itself in less than a week without complications in the majority of cases.

The usual cause is a virus which is spread by coughing, sneezing and contaminated fingers.

Symptoms include pink, red, swollen, itchy, watery eyes that may have a sticky discharge especially -in the morning.

An effective control measure is washing the eyes four (4) times per day with cotton wool soaked in warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of water)

On rare occasions, a bacterial infection may develop when the eyes are rubbed. In such instances, antibiotic eye drops are prescribed by a doctor.

To prevent spread, affected persons and their household and daycare contacts should wash their hands regularly with soap and water, and avoid sharing pillows and towels.

Affected infants, toddlers, pre-school and primary school-age children should be kept away from other children symptoms clear.

Affected adolescents and adults may continue their regular activities once they are feeling well and their hands are washed frequently.

Persons should seek medical advice from a Community Health Center or their personal doctor if they have:

    · Eye pain
    · Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
    · Disturbed vision
    · Intense redness (bloodshot colour) in one or both of your eyes
    · A newborn baby with conjunctivitis

Attendees to daycare centres and pre-schools are most at risk because small children usually do not cover their cough and sneeze, and tend to have their hands in each others faces.

Staff should exercise their usual vigilance. Affected children should be kept at home.

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