Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Conjunctivitis is a common infection affecting one or both eyes that causes the white of the eye to appear pink or red. It can be caused by allergens, foreign objects, bacterial or viral infections. Students must see a health care provider if viral or bacterial conjunctivitis is suspected.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Redness
  • Discharge: purulent or watery
  • Itchiness
  • Feeling of grit in the eye
  • Eyelids may be red or swollen
  • Crusting in inner corner of eye, especially on waking


Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are easily spread through contact with discharge from the eye or respiratory passages or from touching or sharing contaminated items of the infected person, such as cosmetics, contact lenses, pillows, and towels.


  • If you suspect your child has pink eye, he/she must see his/her health care provider for diagnosis and treatment if required. Antibiotic drops may be given for bacterial infection.
  • Cold compresses (separate one for each eye) can provide temporary relief.

Controlling the Spread

  • Frequent hand washing is the best method to control and prevent the spread of conjunctivitis.
  • Wipe eyes to keep free of discharge. Use a separate cotton swap or towel for each eye to prevent cross contamination.
  • Educate child to not share personal items that touch the eye, such as towels and cosmetics.

Students may return to school upon approval of their health care provider.

Please contact Lea Hysom, school nurse, at or 425-898-1720 ext. 399 to report a case of pink eye.

More information about pink eye is available on the CDC website.