Guide to Avoiding Pink Eye

By PJ Bigley | 5/18/16 10:31am

Dartmouth students generally live in fear of some non-specific illness fondly referred to as "The Plague." But this term, the threat has become all too real as illnesses with actual names have made their way to Dartmouth. It all started with the mumps, which shook the student body to its core. (It doesn’t matter that there have been approximately zero confirmed cases on our campus—when someone gets a sore throat, mass hysteria breaks out.) So when pink eye came to campus, people were already pretty riled up.

I'm not usually one to get nervous about the illnesses going around campus, but when I got back to my dorm a couple days ago to see my roommate’s eyes looking like those of Darth Sidious if he’d just been pepper-sprayed, I allowed myself to freak out a little. I realized that there aren’t just a bunch of really, really stoned people walking around campus (I mean, there are), but that there is actually a viral strain of pink eye going around.

Needless to say, the fast spread of pink eye has most of campus on edge. Given that we live in close quarters, use communal bathrooms and the same Green Print stations (not to mention play pong with balls that touch frat basement floors), the risk of catching something like pink eye is pretty high. But fear not, Dartbeat readers! I have developed several full-proof strategies for avoiding pink eye:

  • If you see someone with red eyes, step back and start yelling, "Pink eye, pink eye, pink eye!" Shame people into self-quarantining.

  • Carry around a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole (à la Dr. Seuss). When you see someone with red eyes, poke them with your pole and demand that they "stay back."

  • Select one item from this non-exhaustive list of protective eyewear:

    • Lab goggles

    • Swim goggles

    • Ski goggles (it’s cold enough for crying out loud)

    • An eye patch (pirate style)

    • Those blinders that horses wear

    • Plastic wrap to create a transparent barrier between your eyes and the virus

  • Treat pink eye as you would the zombie apocalypse: drive around campus in a Hummer and form bands of warring factions struggling to survive. Hunt down infected people and just cause some general chaos.

  • The way I see it, the only way you can truly avoid getting pink eye is to not touch anyone or anything. Therefore, become the bubble boy:

  • Lock yourself in your room and refuse to come out. Survive off of those random granola bars that are still in your pack from Trips.

  • Go to Dick's House. When people I know get sick they refuse to go there, so it's probably a pretty sterile environment.

  • Walk around campus making strange noises and yelling at everyone who tries to talk to you. People will keep their distance, ensuring that they won’t get close enough to infect you. As an added bonus, you'll probably have a lot of alone time going forward.

  • Demand that everyone text or Snap you a picture of their eyes before you hang out with them. Remember: prevention is the key to avoiding infection!

  • Drop all your classes (yeah, I know it's week eight) and register for classes in rooms that have eye wash stations. Yes, this means subjecting yourself to the torture that is science classes. But at least if you come into contact with pink eye, you can easily and immediately flush your eyes clean.

PJ Bigley