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Health Ministry warns of Pink Eye outbreak in TCI

Turks and Caicos, June 9th 2017: An increase in cases of Pink Eye has raised alarm with the Health Ministry in the TCI, prompting it to advise caution to all residents.

Conjunctivitis also called, “pink eye”, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva caused by virus, bacteria or allergy. The ministry says symptoms can follow a virus that also causes the common cold, and as a result deems it as highly contagious.

Symptoms include, eyes turning pink or red, weeping or oozing a gooey liquid, experience itching and burning, and eyes stuck shut when you first wake up. The advisory says these symptoms can last for several days.

However, the ministry says treatment can differ, depending on the cause of contraction. It warns that antibiotics will not help. While you can use warm or cool compresses, to relieve the pain and irritation in the eyes, the ministry says most cases of pink eye go away on its own without treatment, but it is best to see a primary care physician if symptoms are being experienced, to ensure it is treated properly.

Meanwhile the ministry has issued some hygienic guidelines to minimize transmission, advising persons with the virus to avoid sharing bed sheets and pillows, towels, tissues and handkerchiefs including cosmetics with unaffected family and friends.

It also asks persons to practice hand washing with water and plain soap, and rubbed together for 15 to 30 seconds, while children should be made to wash their hands before and after eating and after touching the eyes, coughing, or sneezing.

The ministry says alcohol-based hand rubs or hand sanitizers are a good alternative for disinfecting hands if a sink is not available. And finally, the ministry says persons with viral conjunctivitis must remain home from school and work to avoid spreading the virus to others.

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