Many times, symptoms of one illness or ailment can mimic symptoms of another, and there is a fair amount of overlap between the common illnesses such as sinus infections, household allergies, the common cold, and illnesses such as pink eye, which have an even more pronounced symptom, usually.
Commonly, pink eye and allergies can be confused. Symptoms such as swollen eyes, watery eyes, itchy eyes, and red eyes can come from our body’s natural reaction to an allergen that it does not handle well. Our immune system is our body’s natural line of defense against infections. To our bodies, allergens such as dust, mold, pollen and other common substances can be an allergen to us, even when we did not have a prior allergy. Our immune system’s defensive line essentially attacks that allergens, and thus causes even more symptoms such as wheezing, itching, runny nose, water or itchy red eyes, etc.
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a very common, and it can be a very contagious infection caused by either a bacterium or a virus. The eye’s conjunctiva is the lining of the eye. It is the outer membrane of the eyeball, and the inner eyelid area. This area becomes inflamed when it encounters bacteria, a virus, or an allergen that causes the conjunctiva blood vessels to dilate. When this happens, you experience red, bloodshot eyes, from the blood vessels becoming dilated.
Doctors use the term pink eye to refer to the viral conjunctivitis cases that are highly contagious, or the bacterial type, in which prescription eye drops are needed in order to help fight off the infection.
Eyes that are pink, red (bloodshot), watery, or itchy as a symptom of an allergy are not considered pink eye. These cases are referred to as allergies. Determining the allergen that is causing the eye to become inflamed and watery, or itchy (or both) is what is needed in order to get rid of the symptoms in this case.
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