Natural Remedies For Conjunctivitis

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Natural remedies for conjunctivitis are simple and inexpensive. Consider these basic measures for keeping stopping the spread of conjunctivitis:

* Keep hands away from the eyes, and always wash hands before and after touching infected eyes.
* Sterilize contact lenses.
* Change pillowcases every other day.
* Do not share eyeliners or other eye cosmetics, and replace eye cosmetics every 2-3 months.
* Do not share handkerchiefs, washcloths, or towels.

Effective treatment of conjunctivitis can be as simple as finding a clean washcloth and some warm (not hot) water. Simply soak a clean washcloth in warm, clean water, close eyes, and apply the cloth to the eyelids. The moist heat of the cloth creates a fever that slows the growth the viruses that cause conjunctivitis.

Certain commonly available, inexpensive supplements also help. Consider taking:

* Vitamin A: Up to 5,000 IU a day. (Do not take vitamin A if you know you are pregnant.)
* Vitamin C: 500 mg one to four times a day.
* Vitamin E: 400 IU a day for up to two months (mixed tocopherols are better), and
* Zinc picolinate: up to 30 mg a day.

Goldenseal and Oregon grape root capsules, taken as directed on the label, may also be helpful.

In the early 1970s, German researchers found that people who have conjunctivitis also tend to be vitamin A-deficient. This does not prove that taking supplemental vitamin A will necessarily cure conjunctivitis, but since vitamin A is involved in the health of membranes throughout the body, it seems reasonable that this very inexpensive supplement may help. It is not necessary to take more than 5,000 IU a day.

Vitamin C influences the growth of collagen, the glue holding the connective tissues protecting the eye in place. As little as 500 mg a day may be beneficial, and up to 2,000 mg a day may help.

Zinc is an important cofactor for vitamin A. When there is a zinc deficiency, the immune system does not produce as many white blood cells to fight infection, and the clean-up of damaged tissues in the conjunctiva of the eye is slowed.

A dosage of 30 mg a day should be enough to reverse any deficiency, and you do not have to take zinc supplements indefinitely. Anytime a zinc pill begins to taste bad, stop taking it. This is a signal your body has accumulated enough zinc to overcome deficiency. If zinc pills are tasteless, your body may be zinc-deficient.

Herbal compresses may or may not kill germs, but they do feel good. Potentially useful herbs include the well-known eyebright, calendula, barberry, chamomile, goldenseal, and Oregon grape root. Just remember that you prepare the herbs in boiling water to make the compress, sterilizing it, but you let the compress cool down before applying it to closed eyes. Sterile herbal eyedrops, most of them containing eyebright, are also available.

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