Volney Barrett – Freelance Writer
Cases of Acute Conjunctivitis, better known as ‘Pink Eye’, are on the rise in the parish of St. James. The Western Mirror has been receiving a number of reports of persons contracting the highly contagious infection in recent days.
Our newsroom contacted Dr. Marcia Johnson-Campbell, Medical Officer for Health, St. James, who confirmed that there has been an increase in the condition, which is quite common at this time of the year.
“We are having a significant increase in the number of cases of Acute Conjunctivitis in the parish of St. James,” informed Dr. Johnson Campbell.
Conjunctivitis is an infection to the eyes caused mainly by a virus which enters the eye by contaminated hands, wash rags, cosmetics, handkerchiefs and other personal items.
Signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis include: redness of the eyes, scratchy and or burning eyes, grainy feeling in the eyes, sensitivity to light and watery eyes.
TREATMENT AND CARE
Infected individuals are being advised to wash their hands each time they touch or scratch their eyes and each time they use tissue or cotton.
They are also being urged to pour boiled water that has been cooled onto a clean piece of tissue or cotton to wipe the eyes at least three times daily.
“These are also being recommended: Throw cotton or tissue in the garbage after each use. Avoid rubbing the eyes; change pillow cases every night,” Dr. Johnson Campbell advised.
Persons who have been infected with conjunctivitis are also being urged not to attend school, work or other crowded places until the infection clears up.
“Take infants with ‘pink eye’ to the doctor or nearest health centre as soon as possible,” she further advised.
In the meantime, the public is being encouraged not to share makeup, eye drops, wash rags, towels or pillow cases. Avoid shaking the hands of persons who have ‘pink eye’ and to wash their hands often, especially after attending to infected persons.
In addition, Dr. Johnson-Campbell has warned of a message with counterfeit information about ‘pink eye’ making the rounds on social media.
“There is a WhatsApp message circulating about a different strain… but that is not true and there is no Dr. Sujay Gore on the Medical Council of Jamaica’s current list of registered doctors,” Dr. Johnson Campbell warned