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Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

May be bacterial or viral.

This is intended as a general guide. Consult a health care provider for diagnosis and for recommendations or advice.

How it Spreads

Contact with eye secretions through contaminated fingers or articles (i.e. wash cloths or towels).

When pink eye is caused by a cold the droplets from a sneeze or cough can also spread it.

Incubation period *24–48 hours.

* Incubation period = Time between contact with disease and start of symptom.

How to Recognize

Redness in whites of eye, scratchy feeling or pain in eye or swollen eyelids.

Watery or yellowish discharge; eyelids often stick together.

When it is Contagious

Assume contagious until diagnosed.

When to Report/Exclude

Exclude from child care and school until child has seen a doctor.

For bacterial causes, exclude for 24 hours after the start of appropriate antibiotic.


Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Canadian Pediatric Society

MOHLTC Infectious Diseases Protocol 2022