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Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis?

(10 Posts)
catski Thu 01-Oct-09 17:08:42

If the eyes are red with a watery discharge, it's viral conjunctivitis, and if they're red with yellow gunk coming out of them it's bacterial, right?

The doctor said she thought it was 'probably' viral, but it didn't seem to be based on any kind of reasoning, other than that being the more common one. But what about the yellow gunk?! Can you still have yellow gunk with viral conjunctivitis?

herjazz Thu 01-Oct-09 17:13:08


best sign that it is viral afaik is if it appears to be anywhere else - or if you have any other symtoms like cold, sore throat etc. Non specific infection

If its just localised in the eye - it would be difficult to tell. Would need to swab. Though as a rule of thumb yr more likely to get fever / foul smelling discharge with bacterial infections

StealthPolarBear Thu 01-Oct-09 17:15:18

thought bacterial was more common?
DH had viral when he had a virus recently and it was awful and lasted a month. Hope yours is treatable!

StealthPolarBear Thu 01-Oct-09 17:15:47

and he didn't have gunk, just red, swollen eyes with a lot of pain

herjazz Thu 01-Oct-09 17:20:26

sorry didn't mean that all bacterial infections were more likely to result in foul smelling gunk and the shivvers - just that this is more a general sign of bacterial over viral

catski Thu 01-Oct-09 17:38:05

Thanks, that's very interesting. My son hasn't had a cold (which I thought was common with viral conjunctivitis), but today he has come down with a fever and there's a lot of screaming/fitful sleep.

So that does sound more like bacterial doesn't it?

catski Thu 01-Oct-09 17:41:52

By the way, is the 'foul smelling discharge' referring to the yellow gunk or some other kind of discharge? Not sure if it's his eyes or his bottom, but there's been something foul smelling about him for the last couple of days!

herjazz Thu 01-Oct-09 19:23:49

yeah - would associate more smelly gunk with bacterial. If he's a bit pongy like you say (!), it does sound more like eye infection that would respond to some anti bacterial drops. Did doc give any? Worth a try. It won't harm anyway. We have to put chlorephenicol in dd's eyes most nights to prevent infection as she doesn't shut them properly

You can buy them over the counter - depending on how old yr ds is. Optrex do one. Don't think pharmacist will sell to under 7 - even though it is the same that you would be prescribed

If not, do you have eye hospital a and e you can pop along to?

herjazz Thu 01-Oct-09 19:25:45

You may be advised to take oral antibiotics rather than drops if infection is bad - just saw yr bit in post about fever and screaming. Hope it all clears up soon

catski Thu 01-Oct-09 20:32:58

I managed to wrangle some out of her. We're in sweden and you can't buy them over the counter and it was hard enough to get a doc's appointment as it was. We'll give them a whirl and hope it clears up sooner rather than later. Am giving paracetamol for the fever which has brought it down.

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