There’s no two ways about it. Pink eye sucks. The itchy, dry experience comes accompanied by crusty, disgusting mucus. Conjunctivitis is definitely best avoided. When it does strike, you’re likely in for a miserable few days.
Before we discuss the best ways to get rid of pink eye fast, it’s important to go over the three types of pink eye, namely bacterial, viral and allergic. Both bacterial and viral pink eye are highly contagious. Bacterial can be treated by antibiotics, but viral simply needs to run its course. Allergic pink eye is caused by allergies or an allergic reaction.
If this is the first time you have had pink eye, you should see your doctor before beginning any course of treatment. Only a medical professional can tell you with any certainty what type of pink eye you have.
After you’ve talked to your doctor, take a look through our list of tips for getting rid of pink eye fast. Most of these involve cleaning your eyes. While these steps will work to heal your eyes faster, they will also make you more comfortable in the meantime.
1. Clean Your Eyes 3 Times a Day
One of the worst parts of having pink eye is the uncomfortable build up of crust and mucus. To make your life more comfortable while your eyes heal and to make your face look a little less grotesque, clean your eyes two to three times a day using a cotton ball or cotton bud dampened with warm water. Be sure to wash your hands before doing so to prevent any dirt from entering the infected area. And after you’re finished, safely dispose of the cotton ball and wash your hands again. These U.S. Cotton First Aid Cotton Balls use medical-grade cotton for your eye cleaning needs.
2. Sanitize Everything
BEST TO PREVENT SPREAD
As you probably already know, both viral and bacterial pink eye are highly contagious. Not only can you spread pink eye to others, pink eye in one eye can spread to the other if not properly contained. You could also reinfect yourself if the bacteria or virus is left to fester on your household surfaces. That’s why it’s important to sanitize everything, especially your bedding and clothing. Simply add some Lysol Laundry Sanitizer to your loads of laundry to ensure you kill all the germs causing your painful pink eye.
3. Take Pain Medication
BEST FOR VIRAL PINK EYE
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for viral pink eye. It simply has to run its course. But that doesn’t mean you have to deal with the pain on your own. Taking over-the-counter pain medicine, like these Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets, can make your life a lot easier while your eyes remain infected. This bottle comes with 500 200 mg tablets, so you’ll also get more than enough medicine to take care of your eye soreness as well as any headaches, sore muscles and other aches and pains you experience outside of pink eye.
4. Apply a Warm, Damp Washcloth
BEST FOR INFLAMMATION
To soothe your eyes, reduce inflammation and relieve the pain associated with pink eye, there’s no better solution than a damp washcloth. Simply soak a washcloth in warm or cool water, wring out the excess and lay down with the washcloth over your eyes for several minutes. This can be repeated as often as need be to keep your eyes comfortable, just be sure to use a clean washcloth each time. These AmazonBasics Bathroom Washcloths are an ideal option if you are washing the washcloths quite often and need a quick drying option.
5. Use Artificial Tears
BEST FOR BACTERIAL PINK EYE
Artificial tears are eye drops made from mild saline. If approved by your doctor, you can use these eye drops to flush out some of the contaminants in your eye and relieve the dryness that is often associated with pink eye. In particular, the Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops have been shown to soothe dry and gritty eyes and come with more than 1150 five-star reviews on Amazon.
6. Try a Natural, Unscented Face Wash
BEST HACK-Y TREATMENT
Using a natural face wash won’t cure your pink eye, but it may be able to speed up the healing process. This is because a natural, unscented face wash won’t irritate your eyes more than necessary, and it can help cleanse the sensitive around surrounding your eyes too. If you often suffer from red, itchy eyes, this is definitely a switch you should make either way. The Thrive Natural Care Unscented Face Wash is formulated with plant-based ingredients to powerfully clean your skin without irritation.
7. Use Antihistamine Eye Drops for Allergy-Induced Pink Eye
BEST FOR ALLERGIC REACTIONS
If you are positive that your pink eye is due to an allergic reaction of some sort, antihistamine eye drops may relieve your symptoms. Just like the antihistamines you take orally, these eye drops work to combat an allergic reaction and to reduce inflammation. Developed by Bausch and Lomb, the Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops are a good choice for this type of treatment. They start working in just three minutes to provide up to 12 hours of relief.