You’re Treating Pink Eye the Wrong Way
The possibilities of filling a prescription for antibiotics also depended on the socioeconomic status of people. Those who were white, young, better educated and affluent were more likely to get useless medications. However, the odds did not depend on factors that increase a person’s risk of serious infection if patients had diabetes or HIV or contact lens wearers, for example.
MORE: Contact lenses fill your eyes with bacteria
The pink eye is usually caused by a virus, says Stein, and tends to be within one or two weeks without treatment. Antibiotics do not accelerate healing or prevent infection from spreading, except in rare cases where the eyes are infected with bacteria.
“In most cases of conjunctivitis, we simply recommend cold compresses and artificial tears to help alleviate some of the symptoms,” he said, “and a lot of handwashing and not sharing towels or sheets with others to reduce risk Of propagation to close contacts “.
Doctors are not sure the cause of an infection can prescribe antibiotics “just in case,” the authors wrote in their article, or patients may ask for hope of a faster recovery. Some schools do not allow children in classrooms without tests that were treated, one of an editorial policy that accompanies the so-called “very uncomfortable for patients and parents” and “untested.”
Most patients will not get the negative effects of unnecessary antibiotics in the short term, Stein said, but there are risks. Drugs can cause the cells to surface the cornea to damage, causing irritation, blurred vision and increased risk of infection. They can also cause allergic reactions, kill bacteria on the surface of the eye and contribute to resistance to antibiotics. Moreover, he added, it can be costly – over $ 200 per bottle in some cases.
Stein says that patients who are prescribed antibiotics for pink eyes should feel comfortable asking their doctor how he is convinced that he or she is that the infection is caused by a bacteria, not a virus. (If pus is present, he said, a bacterial infection is more likely, if the discharge is watery, it is likely to be a virus or an allergy.) There is a test to identify the most common viruses responsible for ‘pink eye, but Stein said They do not “typically use the T less than a patient’s symptoms last for more than two weeks.But if people want to be more sure if the antibiotics help said,” they can ask their doctor if this test can be done. “