There is now an outbreak of red eye in the Caribbean region.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency has issued the following, relative to the symptoms of the outbreak and how it should be handled.
Red Eye symptoms can include:
- Redness; irritation; itchiness; production of excessive tears
- Clear or yellow discharge that may make the eyelids stick together, especially on mornings
- Swelling of the eye lids
CARPHA wishes to advise the members of the public to practice some simple good, hygiene steps:
- Avoid close contact with persons who are ill with conjunctival symptoms
- Keep unwashed hands away from face and eyes
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Alternatively, you may use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer.
- Avoid sharing personal items, such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye makeup, face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses and, contact lens containers, or eyeglasses.
- Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces in common areas, (for example doorknobs, counter-tops in shared spaces).
- If you are infected avoid using makeup and applicators, (for example brushes and sponges)
- If you are infected, wash hands well before and after cleaning, or applying eye drops or ointment to, your infected eye.
- Once the infection goes away, it is important to avoid re-infection:
- Discard disposable contact lenses and cases that you used while your eyes were infected.
- Extended wear lenses should also be discarded, or, at the least, sterilised as directed by your eye-care professional
- It is advisable that your eyes are examined by an eyecare professional before beginning to use contact lenses again, after a bout of conjunctivitis
- Clean eyeglasses and cases that you used while infected.
CARPHA says it is currently monitoring the situation but in the meantime, the agency is urging persons to take the necessary precautions to prevent and reduce the spread of this illness,