What is pink eye?

  • People often call conjunctivitis “pink eye” because it can cause the white of the eye to take on a pink or red color. Symptoms of pink eye can vary but typically include redness or swelling of the white of the eye.
  • The most common causes of conjunctivitis (pink eye) are
    • viruses
    • bacteria
    • allergens
  • Other causes include
    • chemicals
    • contact lens wear
    • foreign bodies in the eye (like a loose eyelash)
    • indoor and outdoor air pollution caused, for example, by smoke, dust, fumes, or chemical vapors
    • fungi
    • ameba and parasites
  • It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of conjunctivitis because some symptoms may be the same no matter the cause.

Is this a reportable illness?

  • This is not a reportable illness to CDPH but consult with your school nurse to confirm this diagnosis with parents or the medical provider.
    • Notify CDPH of 10 or more individuals in a daycare/school setting who exhibit symptoms onset within a 7 day period or cases with unusual severity of illness. Reach out to CDPH if you need support.

What do schools need to do next?

  • Most children do not need to be excluded from school.
  • The sick person should be excluded if:
    • It is accompanied by symptoms of systemic illness or if the child is unable to keep hands away from eye. 
    • Childcare rules: states to exclude if purulent drainage (pus) until after 24 hours of treatment
  • Due to the variety of causes of pink eye antibiotics, a doctors note is not required.
  • No action for close contacts.
  • No special cleaning.