Over the past few days I have had the unfortunate experience of suffering from conjunctivitis – otherwise known as pink eye! The first morning I woke up with a red, swollen, crusted, watery eye and immediately went to my local walk in clinic where I was given a prescription for eye drops. I came home and started to do more research on my condition and found that there are some natural remedies that I probably should have tried before I ran off to seek medication – but at least I’ll know for next time.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with pink eye, and those who have been lucky enough to avoid it let me tell you a little about it. It is an EXTREMELY contagious condition- seen a lot in children, but also fairly common in adults. It can be caused by a virus but is generally caused by bacteria spreading around – somewhat like how cold germs are spread. If someone has pink eye, touches their eye, and touches something else that you touch – bam! Most of the time you will develop pink eye. Symptoms can vary – you can have one, or all, of itchiness, redness, puffiness, crustiness, and pain in the eye. It generally only occurs in one eye but can happen in both eyes at once. It is referred to as pink eye because the eye will generally have a pink ring around the rims, and the eye can sometimes look somewhat bloodshot. I was also quite interested to learn that pink eye tends to occur more in fair skinned, light eyed, blonde girls – that’s me to a T.
Doctors will prescribe eye drops, or oral medication for more serious or re-occurring cases, but here are some of the natural treatments I’ve found that people swear actually help. The most popular one I’ve come across seems to be a mixture of natural honey in boiling water – cooled then used as an eye wash several times a day, others recommend potato, yogurt, or milk compresses, and even a turmeric solution using a few tsps of turmeric powder mixed with boiled water and used as a compress. I could see how all of these would be quite soothing, and honey and turmeric are antioxidants and antibacterial so they could actually help. I have also read about remedies where people use tea, crushed fennel seeds, or castor oil as eye drops – these ones I would for sure proceed with caution though.
Whatever treatment you choose – always wash your hands frequently, try not to touch your eyes, and be very careful about being around other people so you don’t pass it along. When it goes away – be sure to change your pillowcases and throw out your makeup (ouch!) because you do not want to re-infect your eyes with products that have the pink eye bacteria on it.
I seem to be on the mend and my eyes are looking and feeling a lot better. I had pink eye many times as a kid, and even a few times as an adult. I’m sure with how contagious it is – I will have it again at some point, and this time I will remember to try some of the natural remedies before I rush off to get prescription help.