Many people are aware that pink eyes are a highly contagious disease, but how long is pink eye contagious? People with this condition are contagious for up to 14 days in the case of viral conjunctivitis and up to 24 hours after starting antibiotic therapy with bacterial conjunctivitis. You should generally limit contact during this time until there is no eye discharge.
Pink eye is a common eye disease that causes painful, red, and itchy eyes. Bacteria, viruses, or allergies can cause pink eyes. Both viral and bacterial pink eye is highly contagious. Both adults and children may get pink eyes and should stay away from work, school, or daycare until their symptoms improve.
People can get a viral pink eye from an infection that spreads from the nose to the eyes. It can also be transmitted via droplets of a cough or sneeze that land directly on the eye
When Does a Person Become Contagious With Pink Eye?
Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are highly contagious. However, in most cases, people do not seem to be contagious during the incubation period (the period between transmission and onset of symptoms).
Once the symptoms begin, it is believed that a person with a pink eye caused by a virus (viral conjunctivitis) or a bacterium (bacterial conjunctivitis) can spread the infection.
How Long Is a Person With Pink Eye Contagious?
Pink eye is contagious for up to 14 days in viral conjunctivitis and up to 24 hours in bacterial conjunctivitis after starting an antibiotic. Best Eye Drops For Dry Eyes
Your doctor will tell you what kind of pink eye you or your child have and if it is contagious. Keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean that it is bacterial conjunctivitis just because you or your child has received an antibiotic. In some cases, healthcare providers give antibiotics, even though they believe it is viral conjunctivitis. These antibiotics do not affect the time of infection of this type of pink eyes as they do not infect viruses.
Limiting Contact During the Contagious Period
To reduce the risk of pink eyes spreading, health care providers recommend that people stay at home until there is no discharge. If this is not practicable, try restricting contact with others while you are contagious, and follow the suggestions in the Pink Eye Prevention article.
In schools and daycare centers, it is also common for students to receive treatment for at least 24 hours before returning home and to receive a tip from their doctor.