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How do you treat pink eye at home?

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Quick Answer

Cold or warm compresses can alleviate pain and reduce swelling, according to WebMD. Determine the temperature of the compresses by whichever feels better to the inflamed skin. If pinkeye is caused by allergies, a cold compress may be more useful in soothing the irritation, while a warm and moist compress can reduce the swelling from an eye infection.

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Compresses can spread pinkeye from one eye to the other, warns WebMD. Warm compresses are especially risky. To avoid spreading the infection, use a different compress for each eye, and clean it after each application. Use a clean surface for each wipe of the eye to avoid rubbing drainage back into the eye. To prevent the infection from spreading, throw away the tissues and compresses that touch the eye or put them in the laundry immediately.

Viral pinkeye is not usually treated with medication, and symptoms typically improve after three to five days, but bacterial pinkeye may require use of an antibiotic, reports WebMD.

Pinkeye spreads through direct or indirect contact with the drainage, according to WebMD. Wash hands frequently, and avoid sharing eye makeup, contact lens equipment and eye medicine to avoid spreading pinkeye to other people. Pinkeye can also be transmitted through shared towels, linens, pillows and handkerchiefs.

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