Ways to prevent spread of conjunctivitis

We have seen many cases of eye infection (conjunctivitis). This will usually affect other family member as well if we fail to practice ways to prevent cross contamination.

Dr Norazah Binti Abdul Rahman

Here are some tips we share with our patients


  1. Practice effective hand disinfection techniques. Teach your child about hand wash and hand hygiene. It is good and fun to ask your child to demonstrate hand washing technique they learnt at school. It is fun for them to know what was taught can be applied at home. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Wash them especially well before and after cleaning, or applying eye drops or ointment to your infected eye.
  1. Buy a hand sanitizer and make sure your child sanitize their hand after touching their face or eyes. This also help to prevent cross contamination of common apparatus like the doorknob, fridge handle or a remote control. Get an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean their hands.
  1. Use tissue and not towel to wipe secretion or tears. Discard it immediately. Make sure that the dustbin is always available at their playroom, bedroom, toilet and family area. Do not use the same tissue for both eyes if one of the eye is infected.
  2. Tell your kids to avoid sharing bath towel especially for those who shares the same room / bathroom. Sharing items is a very common way for conjunctivitis to spread. Some of the particular items that people must avoid sharing include cosmetics, towels, washcloths, and any other type of personal item that might have contact with the eye.
  1. If your child gets red eye, keep him out of school for a few days till the eye discharge stops and the redness is completely gone. Once one student comes down with red eye, it can easily spread to an entire class.
  1. Do not share eye drops especially when other family members are also infected.  Sharing eye drops may transmit the bacteria/ viruses to others. This applies to eye makeup/ cosmetic / personal eye care too. Discard contaminated eye cosmetics, particularly mascara.
  1. If you are on a regular eye drops which you have to use despite the red eyes, eg: anti-glaucoma eye drops, discard the bottle after you have recovered from the infection and get a new pack!
  1. If your eyesore is not improving with the prescribed eye medications, go and visit your ophthalmologist. If you are already seeing one, we advise you not to switch doctor. Your eye may develop a condition called  ‘pseudomembrane’ – a thin layer of false membrane consists of tough layer of exudates or slough on the lid/ conjunctiva which need removal and a proper eye dressing. Your ophthalmologist may want to start you with the ‘second line’ treatment plan
  2. Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels often in hot water and detergent; wash your hands after handling such items.
  3. Avoid using public swimming pool.
  4. If you are given more than 1 type of eye drop for conjunctivitis, please wait 5 minutes before instilling the 2nd type of eye drop.

What if you are the care taker of someone with conjunctivitis

If you are around someone with conjunctivitis, you can reduce your risk of infection by following these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Please use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands.
  • Wash your hands after contact with an infected person or items he or she uses; for example, wash your hands after applying eye drops or ointment to an infected person’s eye(s) or after putting their bed linens in the washing machine.
  • Avoid touching your eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share items used by an infected person; for example, do not share pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses.

Eye mythbuster
“Looking at people with red eye will not transmit the red eye to you,
 but touching them without cleaning your hand will! ” 

To find out more, or to discuss your wider healthcare needs, please contact us:
T: +603 5639 1212
E: enquiries@rsdhealth.com