Amid a surge in cases of conjunctivitis, commonly known as Pink Eye, government and private schools across Punjab will be closed tomorrow, following orders from Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister, Mohsin Naqvi.
Preventive Measures in Schools
To curb the spread of the eye infection, teachers have been instructed to screen students at school entrances starting next week. The Pink Eye cases have been on the rise not only in Punjab but also in other parts of the country.
In the past 24 hours, the Punjab Health Department has reported a staggering 85 new cases of Pink Eye. Patients are being advised to use prescribed eye drops, tissues for eye cleansing, and, for temporary relief, cold water. The health department emphasizes the importance of using hand sanitizers and avoiding touching the eyes without thoroughly washing hands.
Sharing personal items with infected individuals, such as pillows, clothes, medicines, and bedding, has been discouraged. Patients are strongly advised against reusing facial items to prevent further infection.
The rapid increase in Pink Eye cases has instilled fear in the city, with over five hundred patients seeking treatment in Lahore alone. Experts warn that without adequate precautions, there is a high risk of widespread transmission of the viral conjunctivitis.
Symptoms and Modes of Transmission
Symptoms reported by patients include painful redness, swelling, and excessive tearing in the eyes. The virus can spread not only through direct contact but also through the air and even casual conversations.
Professor Asad Aslam, an ophthalmologist, emphasizes the necessity of taking preventive measures. He recommends wearing sunglasses, separating personal items, and exercising extreme caution to avoid transmission.
Importance of Hygiene
Good hygiene practices are crucial for containing the virus, as it can survive on surfaces for up to ten days or even longer. Medical experts point out that Pink Eye is spreading rapidly in densely populated cities, especially in areas with unfavorable environmental conditions like factories, markets, and shopping plazas.
Senior ophthalmologist and former vice chancellor of King Edward Medical University, Prof. Dr. Asad Aslam, explains that it is challenging to assess the full impact of viral conjunctivitis, as there is ongoing work to accurately record the number of cases. He notes that Pink Eye is a common and self-limiting condition that affects the eye’s lining but reassures that it is treatable at any stage.