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Eye flu is in season
The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting worse, the temperatures are getting cooler. Winter is approaching and with it the time of infections. An above average number of people suffer from colds and flu at this time. However, what many do not know: The eyes can also catch a cold. The so-called "eye flu" or keratoconjunctivitis epidemica spreads like a typical cold or the classic flu via a droplet or smear infection. However, special care should be taken with this form of the disease, because it is not only highly infectious, but also particularly persistent.
Eye flu is highly contagious
The eye flu is an infection of the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye, the pathogens of which usually follow the same route as that of flu or colds. They are transferred to the body and then reach the mucous membranes, where they nest and make you sick. And the danger of becoming infected with the pathogens lurks everywhere. Door handles, handrails in public transport, towels or elevators are particularly popular bacteria sources.
However, banknotes are also full of bacteria and viruses. They move from hand to hand and pass on the pathogens to the next one each time the owner changes hands. If such a bacterial focus is touched and then carefully considered, the infection is perfect. The mucous membranes are particularly dry in the winter months, so that our defense system cannot work at full speed and pathogens have an easy time of it.
Itchy, watery and very red eyes
Once the pathogens have been transmitted, the symptoms can be a long time coming. The person affected then often does not yet know that he has an eye flu, but can already pass the infection on to others. The disease then becomes noticeable after about eight days with itchy, watery and very red eyes. There is also often a swelling of the eyelids and lymph nodes on the ear and jaw, which is accompanied by pain. The symptoms should only slowly subside after about 10 to 14 days. Unfortunately, there is currently no effective therapy to cure the disease. However, the symptoms can be alleviated with appropriate medication, for example with artificial tear fluid or pain relievers.
Immediate hygiene helps prevent infection
Regular hand washing and the use of disinfectants from the pharmacy are the best and, at the same time, the simplest measures to prevent infection. In addition, rubbing your eyes should be avoided as much as possible. This applies in particular to contact lens wearers who are particularly susceptible to infection, since pathogens have a particularly easy game when inserting and removing the lenses due to the proximity of the fingers to the eye.
With a normal course of the disease, the eye flu should heal after two to three weeks. In some cases, however, the opacity of the cornea persists beyond this period, up to months. There are always patients in whom the cloudiness no longer subsides and whose eyesight is impaired as a result. If this is the case and other therapy options have not worked, laser treatment of the cornea can help and provide clear vision again. “After a precise measurement of the corneal surface, it is removed using the laser and the cloudiness is eliminated. To protect the eye, a therapeutic contact lens is used after the laser is used and the patient must regularly use eye drops that promote healing in the days after the procedure, ”explains private lecturer Toam Katz M.D., specialist in ophthalmology and medical director at CARE Vision.
If you suspect eye flu, you should definitely see a doctor, as this is the only way to discuss treatment options and ensure the best possible course of the disease.