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What Is the Incubation Period for Pink Eye?

incubation-period-for-pink-eye

ANSWER:

The incubation period for pink eye can range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

More Info: Conjunctivitis, more commonly referred to as pink eye, can be caused by a variety of factors.  The incubation period, that is the span of time that elapses between a person coming in contact with the infection and the symptoms ultimately appearing, depend upon what has caused the infection.

Incubation Periods by Infection Type

Though difficult to retrieve a definitive timeline on the incubation period of any type of conjunctivitis, the following timeframe has been published by the Indiana State Department of Health. (Indiana State Department of Health 2011 )

Bacterial: 12 hours-3 days.

Viral: 24-72 hours.

Contagious Period by Infection Type

Bacterial:  Contagious as long as the mucous is still discharging from the eye.  Depending on the infection it can last only a few days or in more severe cases can last weeks. The majority of cases improve in 2-5 days without treatment. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it is generally safe to return to normal activities within 24 hours. (Center for Disease Control 2011)

Viral: Contagious as long as the mucous is still discharging from the eye. The symptoms are usually the most severe at 3-5 days and begin to ease in 7-14 days.  (Center for Disease Control 2011)

Allergens: Not contagious

Irritants: Not contagious

 

Resources

“CDC – Conjunctivitis: Causes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/about/causes.html.

“Conjunctivitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001010.htm.

“ISDH: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye).” Indiana State Department of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. http://www.in.gov/isdh/23294.htm.

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