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How to deal with pinkeye

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Sunday, March 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

If recent numbers are any indication, acterial conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, a common eye disease, seems to be on the move, afflicting everyone from toddlers to school-age children to adults.

The culprit? According to Dr. Glenda Brown, an optometrist with Caris Eye Centers in Alpharetta, Ga., and incoming president of the Georgia Optometric Association, it is a brutal cold and flu season that is weakening immune systems.

“We're all exposed to viruses and bacteria, and if our immunity is down, we can't fight it off,” she said.

Conjunctivitis is the most common type of eye infection and can be caused by viruses associated with the common cold and flu.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is an infection most often caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria from your own skin or respiratory system.

And allergic conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies but can be caused by other allergens.

Practicing good hygiene is the best way to control the spread of conjunctivitis. After an infection has been diagnosed, follow these steps:

• Don't touch your eyes with your hands.

• Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

• Change your towel and washcloth daily, and don't share them with others.

• Discard eye cosmetics, particularly mascara.

• Don't use anyone else's eye cosmetics or personal eye-care items.

• Follow your eye doctor's instructions on proper contact-lens care.

— The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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