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Conjunctivitis alert: Can you get eye flu by looking into someone’s eyes? | Health


Due to incessant rains, floods and waterlogging, conjunctivitis cases have been on rise across the country from Delhi, Mumbai to Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, due to the concerning rise in eye flu cases, schools in various districts of Arunachal Pradesh have been shut for a few days. Conjuntivitis can cause redness, itchiness and discharge in eyes and one may feel it difficult to open the affected eye in the morning due to formation of a crust over it. The eyes may appear swollen and the person may experience sensitivity to light. Conjunctivitis is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection or allergy. However, it doesn’t affect your vision and after the disease has been treated or run its course, the eyes gets completely cured. (Also read: Don’t ignore the pink eye: As cases rise, know what leads to conjunctivitis spike in monsoon; how to avoid)

Conjunctivitis spreads rapidly and can survive on surfaces like doorknobs, towels, tissues etc for long. (Representative Image)
Conjunctivitis spreads rapidly and can survive on surfaces like doorknobs, towels, tissues etc for long. (Representative Image)

Conjunctivitis spreads rapidly and can survive on surfaces like doorknobs, towels, tissues etc for long. It can also spread fast in spaces which aren’t well-ventillated. One should avoid touching surfaces after contact with their eyes when suffering from conjunctivities. Sharing of personal items is also not recommeded when you have the eye infection.

In case you still have some question in mind regarding the spread of Eye Flu or Conjunctivitis, Dr. Vijay Mathur, Senior Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals in an interaction with HT Digital has answered some common questions for you.

Can I get eye flu by looking into someone’s eyes?

There is a common misconception that eye flu can spread just by looking into someone’s eyes. However, this is not entirely true. The main mode of transmission for eye flu, also known as conjunctivitis, is through direct contact with the discharge from an infected person’s eyes. Simply looking into someone’s eyes is not a significant means of transmission. The virus can spread when you touch your eyes after coming into contact with the infected person’s eye secretions.

Is it possible for eye flu infection to spread via air?

Recent research has shown that eye flu can be transmitted through airborne particles. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets containing the virus may come into contact with another person’s eyes, leading to infection. Although direct airborne transmission is not the primary mode of spread, it highlights the importance of wearing masks and practicing respiratory hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission through the air.

What makes eye flu so contagious? How does it spread?

The high contagiousness of eye flu can be attributed to its ability to survive on surfaces and its transmission through direct or indirect contact with infected eye secretions. The virus can remain viable on objects such as doorknobs, towels, or tissues, facilitating its spread. Additionally, crowded environments and close contact with infected individuals can contribute to the rapid transmission of the virus.

What are the first signs of eye flu? What are its most concerning symptoms?

The initial symptoms of eye flu include redness, itching, excessive tearing and a gritty sensation in the eyes. As the infection progresses, patients may experience increased sensitivity to light and eye discharge. The most concerning signs of eye flu include severe eye pain, drop in vision and increased redness spreading around the cornea.

What precautions must one take to manage eye flu and prevent its spread?

To effectively manage eye flu and prevent its spread, it is important to follow these precautions:

  • Avoid close contact with others, especially if you have symptoms of eye flu.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Refrain from touching or rubbing your eyes to prevent the virus from entering your eyes.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like towels, pillows, eye makeup or contact lenses.
  • If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses until the infection clears up.
  • Wear a mask to protect against airborne transmission, especially in crowded places.
  • Seek medical advice promptly if you suspect you have eye flu or experience severe symptoms.


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