Tag Archives: Viral

I spy with my little crusty eye…………..

clipart image of eye


Often students come in to be evaluated for “pink eye”…but what does it mean if you have redness, irritation, and/or crusty eye(s)?

And what do you need to do??????



Why is my eye red?

  • Although there is more than one cause of a red eye, the most common cause is conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common eye condition that affects both children and adults.  It is caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva which makes the blood vessels visible giving the eye a red/pink appearance.

I woke up and my eye was crusted shut.  I need an antibiotic right?

  • Actually, most cases of conjunctivitis are caused by a virus. The most common virus to cause conjunctivitis is the adenovirus which also causes the common cold. Antibiotics will only treat conjunctivitis if it is caused by bacteria.  It is more likely to be bacterial if you only have symptoms in one eye and you have thick yellow, white or green eye discharge that recurs throughout the day.  Conjunctivitis can also be caused by allergies and irritants.

Do I need to see a healthcare provider?

  • You should seek care if you wear contacts, have moderate to severe pain, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, intense redness, weakened immune system, symptoms that do not improve, symptoms that worsen, or if you have a pre-existing eye condition. You can make an appointment at Student Health Services online, by phone, or in person to have your eye evaluated.

Are there any treatments I can try at home?

  • If you do not have the symptoms listed above, there are a few things you can try to relieve your symptoms including over the counter (OTC) antihistamine/decongestant eye drops, OTC eye lubricant drops and warm or cold compresses. The OTC eye drops can be picked up without a prescription at any pharmacy including the pharmacy at Student Health.  You should also avoid wearing contacts until your symptoms have resolved.

Can I still go to class?

  • Absolutely! Even though it is very contagious if it is caused by a virus or bacteria, you can prevent spreading it your peers with good hand hygiene. It is spread by direct contact, contact with secretions, or contact with contaminated objects/surfaces. Avoid touching and rubbing your eyes. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid sharing makeup and eyeglasses.


References: CDC, UpToDate


Get Smart About Antibiotics

ECU Student Health Services (SHS) is supporting Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, November 14-20, by sharing education and social media messages about when antibiotics are indicated, how to take them correctly, and why overuse contributes negatively to our health.  SHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want you to know why antibiotics are not always the answer and why SHS providers are so careful about only prescribing antibiotics when indicated, not just because a patient requests them.

The CDC has news this cold and flu season:  antibiotics do not touch viruses—never have, never will!  And it is not really news—it is a long-documented medical fact. Antibiotics can only treat illnesses caused by bacteria. Colds, the flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria. If you have a viral infection, antibiotics will not help you feel better or get well sooner. In fact, they can even be harmful.

Taking antibiotics when they are not needed is fueling an increase in drug-resistant bacteria, which cause infections that are more difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to cure. Almost all types of bacteria have become less responsive to antibiotic treatment. Heard of MRSA? These “superbugs” can quickly spread to family members, schoolmates and coworkers, and threaten our communities with illnesses that were once easily treatable. Combatting antibiotic resistance is a priority for CDC with estimates of more than 2 million resistant infections occurring annually in the United States alone.

When antibiotics are used for viral infections, you are not getting the best care. A course of antibiotics will not fight the virus, help you feel better, or lead to a quicker recovery. It may even be harmful. If you are diagnosed with a viral illness, SHS providers will give you advice on what to do to feel more comfortable while the immune system does its work. Suggestions might include drinking plenty of fluids, getting a lot of rest, using over the counter medications, using a cool mist humidifier, or gargling with salt water. Please help SHS continue its commitment to safe and smart antibiotic use by educating yourself about antibiotics.














If an antibiotic is prescribed for you, take it as directed and complete the entire course of medication, regardless of when you start feeling better.  Partial doses of antibiotics should not be saved “for next time”—this increases resistance and allows the bacteria to possibly come back stronger.  You should also know to never take medication prescribed for others—even if you have similar symptoms as your roommate or think you have the same illness as a friend, it is NEVER okay to share prescriptions or take a dose of antibiotics from another person.

As always, if you have ANY questions about their diagnosis, treatment plan, or how to help your symptoms, call us at 252-328-6841 or email us at gotquestions@ecu.edu.   For more information about the right way to use antibiotics, visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.

Article adapted from CDC’s educational materials for Get Smart About Antibiotics week.