Westmoreland Health Department Urges Caution After Spotting Pink Eye | News

The Westmoreland Health Department is urging residents to take precautions to prevent an outbreak of viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) after three cases were confirmed in the west parish.

Surveillance data shows that three cases were confirmed in the Negril Health District and were observed in three children aged two, three and five.

Gerald Miller, the parish’s health promotion and education officer, told JIS News that while there is currently no outbreak, he is advising the public to take steps to reduce their risk of getting pink eye.

These measures include washing hands regularly, limiting handshakes and wearing eye protection when exposed to wind, dust, heat or sun to avoid irritation.

People are also advised to avoid unnecessary eye contact and sharing of eye make-up, eye medication and contact lenses, containers and solutions.

“Although we don’t have an epidemic, the potential is high if we don’t contain it because it is highly contagious. If one child comes to school, he can spread it to other children. That’s why we’re alerting our stakeholders,” Miller said.

He said the health department has notified its stakeholders and implemented sensitization activities to create awareness.

“Because pink eye is contagious, we are now using this tool to engage and alert our stakeholders, primarily early childhood education institutions, the Ministry of Education. [and Youth] and our schools,” Miller said. “We’ve …sent information to the development officers who work with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) and we’ve also notified the Westmoreland education officers to spread the information on their WhatsApp groups.”

Miller urges parents to see a health care provider if their children are experiencing symptoms of the virus.

Pink eye is redness and swelling of the eye that can be caused by a viral infection or irritation.

Signs of the virus include redness and watery eyes, itchy and/or burning eyes, a grainy feeling in the eyes and hypersensitivity to light.

Pink eye is a common condition and the infection can be spread by touching/rubbing the eyes with dirty hands or sharing items such as eye drops, contact lenses, tissue/handkerchief and make-up.

Most people recover from pink eye in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment.


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