What is Eye Flu Its Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

What is Eye Flu: Its Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

Eye flu is a very common viral infection, medically known as conjunctivitis. It causes inflammation in the thin and transparent layer of tissue that covers the white part of the eye. This condition is also referred to as ‘pink or red eye’. The eye flu can be caused by various viruses, bacteria, or allergens. In this blog, we will explain what eye flu is and what its causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options are.

What is Eye Flu?

Eye flu, or conjunctivitis, is usually caused by a viral infection, but sometimes it can also happen because of bacteria and allergies. This condition is highly contagious and can be spread through direct or indirect contact with the infected person. Common viruses that cause eye flu include adenovirus, herpes simplex virus, and enterovirus.

Causes of Eye Flu

Eye flu is an infectious and contagious disease, so it is important to know its causes. The major causes of eye flu disease include:

  • Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections can also trigger eye flu symptoms. Bacteria like Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus aureus can easily enter the layer covering the eye, causing bacterial conjunctivitis.
  • Viral Infections: Most commonly, the eye flu is spread due to viruses. Adenoviruses and enteroviruses are viruses that can enter the layer covering the front part of the eye and cause eye infections. They cause itchiness, excessive tearing, and redness in the eyes.
  • Irritants and Foreign Objects: Eye flu symptoms can also be caused by irritants and foreign particles. You may feel itching and redness in your eyes due to these irritants. These foreign particles can include pollution, smoke, chlorine from swimming pools, etc.
  • Allergic Reactions: Another cause of the eye flu is allergic reactions, which result in watery, red, and itchy eyes. Dust mites, animal fur, animal skin, pollen, and some cosmetics are some substances that cause allergic conjunctivitis.

Symptoms of Eye Flu

Eye flu can be caused due to various reasons, but it has some common traits and symptoms. 

  • Blurred vision
  • Itchiness or irritation
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Continuous discharge of eye gunk or water
  • Redness in the inner eyelids or the white part of the eye

Prevention Strategies

Eye flu can be a highly contagious infection, especially in places where your friends, family, and other people of the community are in common and close contact with you, such as schools, offices, shopping malls, etc. Some common tips for preventing and reducing the risk of spreading eye flu are:

  • Protect your eyes from extreme and direct sunlight by wearing dark glasses.
  • Prevent sharing your personal belongings, like pillows, towels, or other personal items, with the infected person.
  • Washing your hands in a frequent manner with soap and water will reduce the risk of spreading the virus, especially after touching your eyes or face.
  • Sanitizing or disinfecting the places that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, countertops, and reception areas, reduces the chances of spreading the virus.
  • If you are already infected with the flu, you should avoid large gatherings and coming in close contact with friends and family. You should also practice proper hygiene.

Eye Flu Treatment

Treatment options depend on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause. Generally, treatment for eye flu mainly focuses on easing the symptoms and preventing the virus from spreading. Treatment options include: 

  • Symptoms like swelling, discomfort, and watery eyes can be reduced by applying warm compresses.
  • Dryness and irritation can be eased by using lubricating eye drops.
  • In cases of severe or bacterial conjunctivitis, consult a doctor for prescribed antiviral or antibiotic eye drops.
  • Until the infection is troubling your eye, avoid wearing contact lenses and eye makeup.
  • Frequent hand washing with proper soap and water, avoiding touching and rubbing of the eyes, and practicing proper hygiene can help prevent the spread of the flu.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Do not ignore the need to see the doctor if you observe the following conditions:

  • Severe Pain: Seek medical attention if you are having severe eye pain or a sudden decrease in vision.
  • Prolonged Symptoms: If you have had eye flu symptoms for more than two weeks, get a medical evaluation by a healthcare professional as early as possible.
  • Suspected Bacterial Infection: If your eye discharge is thick, green, or red, this could indicate an infection; in that case, consult a doctor for eye flu treatment.


Eye flu, or viral conjunctivitis, is a common and highly contagious condition that can cause discomfort and irritation. By understanding the symptoms, causes, treatment options, and prevention strategies for the eye flu, you can take the first steps to protect yourself and others from contracting or spreading the infection. If you notice persistent or severe eye fever, consult a health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.

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