13 November 2010

Yikes! It's a Sore Eyes Epidemic!

A cough or cold, I can handle, but viral diseases such as measles and chicken pox are a bane for any family, especially big, happy ones like ours where the kids miss each other if they don't see their siblings for half a day. And yet, this week, we were hit with the sore eyes epidemic.

It started when one of our yayas came home from the province. Quite new and shy, she was "nahihiya" to divulge her condition and came back. To cut the story short, Joaquin was our first victim. Two days later, his twin brother Jaime caught it. And another two days after, our 2 year old Jessica proudly showed off her pink eye (she must think it's cool that she's just like her kuyas). Today, Gaby has caught the virus.

But what is sore eyes?
Also known as "pink eyes," it is the inflammation of the thin covering of the eyeball and the inner eyelid. The medical term for it is conjunctivitis, and there are three types: viral, bacterial, and allergic. The most common is the viral infection and may be highly contagious.

This does not mean, however, that you can get the virus just by looking into the eyes of an infected person! (so old school). Sore eyes can spread through hand contact -- contaminated hand to eye contact, or touching of eyes with hands which got into contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.

So, how do you prevent sore eyes? Easy-- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water!

What do you do if you have sore eyes? Here are some pointers from the Department of Health:
1. Frequently wash hands with soap and water.
2. Do not touch your eyes and face without washing your hands.
3. Do not share towels, eyeglasses/shades and make up.
4. Use clean tissue to remove discharge from eyes and wash hands afterwards. Dispose used tissue in garbage bins.
5. Warm compress may be helpful to relieve discomfort and remove "crust" (muta).
6. Use antibiotic or antiviral medication only upon prescription by the doctor .
7. If drops or an ointment is prescribed, the applicator tip and infected eye must never come in contact with each other.
8. Disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, counters, elevator buttons, hand rails with dilute bleach solution.
9. Clothes, towels, pillow cases and anything else which may have come in contact with an infected person should be washed.
10. Especially for persons with sore eyes with runny nose or cough, stay in a separate room or away from other family members or co-workers.

Thankfully, our kids are on their way to recovery. Praying that the virus won't spread to Sophia and the rest of the household. Still, the experience gave the kids an excuse to wear their shades, and sometimes pretend they're Cyclops from X-Men. 


Drop me a line and let me know what you think!

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