Pink eye on a rampage

Mar 022004
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

Students at CSU should keep their hands to themselves this

spring, said Claire Smith, a nurse practitioner at Hartshorn Health


Viral conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is infiltrating CSU.

“Viral pink eye comes along with cold symptoms,” Smith said.

“It’s not just if you touch your eye – you can get the cold whether

you touch your mouth, nose or eye.”

According to St. Luke’s Cataract and Laser Institute, viral pink

eye is characterized by watery discharge, irritation, redness and

the infection spreading from one eye to the other.

“It usually starts out by being red and a little bit itchy,”

Smith said. “When it is viral, it will often start in your other

eye and spread.”

Since viral pink eye is a component of a common cold, it usually

passes in three to four days, Smith said. The only comfort in the

meantime is a warm compress over the eyes.

Alexandra Crawfurd, a sophomore speech communications and French

student, learned about pink eye firsthand.

“I woke up the first day it was in both my eyes and I couldn’t

open my eyes,” Crawfurd said. “They were crusted shut; I had to

feel my way to the bathroom.”

Crawfurd caught a cold about two weeks ago, and the pink eye was

quick to follow.

“I had the cold first,” she said. “The pink eye was a symptom of

the cold, no doubt.”

Smith said the best way to avoid contracting the infection is to

keep hands clean and away from the nose, mouth and eye area.

“How do you avoid getting a cold from someone?” Smith said.

“Wash your hands a lot, keep your hands away from your face (and)

don’t chew on pens.”

Crawfurd’s roommate Jaime Neil, a junior business management

student, followed these rules closely to keep herself healthy while

Crawfurd was sick.

“We just made sure we washed our hands a lot,” Neil said. “And

we stayed away from each other as much as we could.”

Smith said the increased spreading of viral pink eye is fairly

common in the fall and spring.

“We always see it,” she said. “They’re going to get the whole

cold, not just the pink eye.”

Crawfurd’s pink eye, along with her cold, has passed and she

hopes other students will be more fortunate.

“It really, really sucked,” she said. “All I could do was sit

and feel sorry for myself.”

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