Eye Flu Symptoms: What to Look Out For


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Eye flu, also known as viral conjunctivitis, is a highly contagious infection that affects the thin, clear membrane that covers the white part of your eyes and the inside of your eyelids. It is typically caused by a virus, although bacterial infections can also lead to a similar condition. Eye flu symptoms can be uncomfortable and disruptive, but the good news is that most cases resolve on their own within a week or two.

Understanding Eye Flu Symptoms

Eye flu symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the infection, but they generally include:

1. Redness and Irritation: One of the hallmark symptoms of eye flu is redness in the whites of the eyes, as well as irritation and itchiness.

2. Watery Discharge: You may experience a watery discharge from your eyes that can be clear or slightly thicker in consistency.

3. Grittiness and Foreign Body Sensation: Some people with eye flu report feeling like there is something gritty or like a foreign body in their eyes.

4. Swelling: Your eyelids may appear swollen, especially around the edges where they meet the eyes.

5. Sensitivity to Light: Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, can be a symptom of eye flu and may make it uncomfortable to be in bright environments.

6. Crusting of the Eyelids: You may notice that your eyelids stick together or crust over, especially after periods of rest or sleep.

7. Decreased Visual Acuity: In some cases, the infection may cause blurred vision or a temporary decrease in visual acuity.

Causes of Eye Flu

As mentioned earlier, eye flu is most commonly caused by a viral infection, with adenoviruses being the primary culprits. These viruses are highly contagious and can spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Bacterial infections, such as those caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae, can also lead to similar symptoms.

Treatment Options

While there is no specific cure for viral conjunctivitis, there are several ways to manage and alleviate the symptoms of eye flu:

1. Home Remedies: Applying a clean, warm compress to your eyes can help soothe irritation and reduce swelling. Make sure to use a separate compress for each eye to prevent spreading the infection.

2. Artificial Tears: Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops can help keep your eyes moist and alleviate dryness and discomfort.

3. Antihistamines: If your eye flu is caused by allergies, over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops may help relieve symptoms.

4. Avoiding Contact Lenses: If you wear contact lenses, it is advisable to switch to glasses until your symptoms resolve to prevent further irritation and potential complications.

5. Good Hygiene Practices: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, and refrain from sharing towels or pillows to prevent the spread of the infection.

In cases where bacterial conjunctivitis is suspected, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments to help clear the infection.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I go to work or school with eye flu?
It is advisable to stay home until your symptoms improve to prevent spreading the infection to others. Most cases of eye flu resolve within a week.

2. Is eye flu contagious?
Yes, viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious. Practice good hygiene and avoid close contact with others to prevent spreading the infection.

3. Can I wear makeup with eye flu?
It is best to avoid wearing makeup while you have eye flu to prevent further irritation and contamination of your cosmetics.

4. How long does it take for eye flu to go away?
Most cases of viral conjunctivitis resolve on their own within 1-2 weeks. If symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare provider.

5. Can I treat eye flu with over-the-counter eye drops?
While lubricating eye drops can help alleviate symptoms, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, especially if you suspect a bacterial infection.


Eye flu can be a bothersome condition, but with proper care and hygiene practices, most cases can be managed effectively. If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, or if you have underlying health conditions that may affect your eyes, it is important to seek medical advice promptly. Remember to practice good hand hygiene, avoid sharing personal items, and give your eyes the rest and care they need to recover from eye flu.

Diya Patel
Diya Patel
Diya Patеl is an еxpеriеncеd tеch writеr and AI еagеr to focus on natural languagе procеssing and machinе lеarning. With a background in computational linguistics and machinе lеarning algorithms, Diya has contributеd to growing NLP applications.

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