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How Long is Pink Eye Contagious For?

About Pink Eye

Pink Eye, in medical term is known as conjunctivitis, is a condition in which there is inflammation of the conjunctiva resulting in redness and swelling of the eye. Pink Eye is quite a common condition and usually occurs in children. The symptoms of Pink Eye stay for about a week or so before they go away and normally they do not require any formal treatment as such. Majority of the cases of Pink Eye are caused by bacterial or viral infections, although it can also be caused by dry eyes or exposure to wind and sun. Certain chemical allergies can also result in development of Pink Eye.

Coming to the question of whether Pink Eye is contagious; yes, Pink Eye developing from bacterial and viral causes are extremely contagious and can spread from direct contact from individual to individual, especially children who spend the day at school or a daycare facility where they may come in contact with an infected child and may get the infection.

Among viral and bacterial Pink Eye, viral form is the most contagious and moreover there is no treatment for it as it resolves on its own. The pertinent question that many people with Pink Eye ask the physician is how long Pink Eye is contagious for.

How Long is Pink Eye Contagious For?

How Long Is Pink Eye Contagious For?

As stated above, majority of the cases of Pink Eye are either viral or bacterial. When this is the case then the affected individual may be contagious for a week to 10 days but this duration may be more in certain cases for up to two weeks from the time the first symptom of pink eye appear.

Children are most vulnerable to getting pink eye as they stay in close contact with other children in school or daycare centers and are more likely to get pink Eye than others. Thus it is recommended that if a child is suffering from Pink Eye then he or she does not go to school or day care center for fear of spreading the infection until the symptoms resolve.

Normally, antibiotics can be used to treat the bacterial form of Pink Eye but the viral form has no treatment and usually runs its course which is about three to seven days.

Once the symptoms are no longer present, then the individual is considered to be safe from not spreading the infection, although the affected individual should still be careful for another week or so after the symptoms have resolved so that he or she does not spread the infection to anyone else. In cases where rubella virus is responsible for development of Pink Eye then the individual may be contagious for more than two weeks.


  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2020). Is Pink Eye Contagious? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/pink-eye-conjunctivitis-contagious
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pink-eye/symptoms-causes/syc-20376355

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2023

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