Pinkeye is the equivalent of leprosy in today's society. At least in the segment of the population that I find myself in: the stay-at-home-moms, preschool and grade school teachers, or anyone who works with young kids. Yesterday, at my worst, I was shunned. I was asked to step outside a classroom. I was thanked for staying a playground's length away from a baby. My husband's co-worker followed HIM around with a can of Lysol. I found myself waiting for the horse and cart to come get me and take me away to my pinkeye colony.
Yes, pinkeye is highly contagious. But it is not airborne. I would have to touch my eye and then touch something and then have someone else touch that thing and then touch their eye to spread it. I, however, am wearing my glasses which provide a natural barrier for when my hand wants, of its own volition, goes to my eye. With said glasses, I have to make a conscious effort to touch my eye. Trust me, I'm not touching my eye. It freaks me out just as much as it freaks others out! If I want to wipe it, I use a cotton ball and then dispose of the hazardous waste right then. I have sprayed down doorknobs just in case. I am using hand sanitizer like it's aloe vera and my hands are sunburned. You ain't gettin' this stuff from me!
I can understand how people in my demographic would be scared. Pinkeye can go through a classroom like wildfire. If an infected kid comes to class of COURSE they are going to be rubbing their eye and then handling everything within a 40 yard radius. And I believe that it is a documented fact that as soon as a kid is contagious with something, that is the time that he/she is going to start practicing how to share their toys. I think it's the survival instinct of the bacteria/virus taking over the brain of the host organism in order to help them spread, spread, SPREAD!!!
The worst part about this whole pinkeye thing, though, isn't being a social outcast for 3 to 5 days. Nope. It's having to throw out all of my eye make-up and assorted make-up tools. Sigh. There goes my new mascara. Out with the eyeliner. Bye-bye eyeshadow duo. S'long eyelash curler. Au revoir eyeshadow brushes. I think I'll miss you the most. Luckily the only NEW thing in my drawer was the mascara - and I got that 40% off. And Clinique bonus time is in a couple of weeks! So, okay maybe throwing out my eye make-up isn't the worst thing. But it is annoying!
During this whole thing I remembered a pinkeye scare from when I was a kid. Someone from my school called Mom and warned her that pinkeye was going around the school. I remember Mom getting off of the phone and coming and checking my eyes. I asked what was wrong and what I remember her saying was, "Pinkeye is going around." This immediately conjured up an image of a ghostly eye of a pinkish cast floating down the street looking for some unsuspecting kid to land on while all the parents were locking their doors and shutting their blinds to the outside. When my doctor diagnosed me on Monday I felt like a target on a video game - my eye flashed yellow then white then a glowing pink while the Ghostly Pink Eye playing the video game laughed and collected its bonus points.
Hopefully my kids won't end up giving the GPE the high score.