Conjunctivitis is also known as red or pink eye.

It usually affects both eyes and makes them:

  • bloodshot
  • burn or feel gritty
  • produce pus that
  • sticks to lashes
  • itch
  • water

Self-Care Techniques

There are things you can do at home to help ease the symptoms of Conjunctivitis.

Use clean cotton wool (one piece for each eye). Boil water and then let it cool down before you:

  • clean off crusts on your lashes by rubbing them gently
  • make a cold compress to press on your eyes for a few minutes to cool them down


  • wash hands regularly with warm soapy water
  • wash pillows and face cloths in hot water and detergent


  • wear contact lenses until your eyes are better
  • share towels and pillows
  • rub your eyes

Visit your Pharmacy

Your local Pharmacist can give you advice and suggest eye drops or antihistamines to help with your symptoms. Find your nearest Pharmacy at NHS Choices.

When to see your GP

You should see your GP if:

  • your baby has red eyes – get an urgent appointment if your baby is less than 28 days old
  • you wear contact lenses and you have conjunctivitis symptoms as well as spots on your eyelids – you might be allergic to the lenses
  • your symptoms haven’t cleared up after 2 weeks

Work or School Guidance

You don’t need to avoid work or school unless you or your child are feeling very unwell.

If there are a few children with conjunctivitis at your child’s school you might be asked to keep yours at home.

Advice for nurseries and schools can be read here.