By: Alyssa Marsico

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – All eyes are on the Olympics and taking most of the attention, of all things, are Bob Costas’ eyes.

Viewers and coworkers noted the red and bloodshot look to his eyes, which we know now is because of conjunctivitis, or more commonly “pink eye.”

CBS News reports Costas will be replaced during NBC’s Olympic coverage by Matt Lauer, until his eyes clear up.

But this recent experience has some wondering what steps they can take to avoid such a contagious infection and how to treat it.

Dr. Mark Itskowitz of Allegheny Health Network talked with Bill Rehkopf about why not working or being around others while infected is so crucial.

“Conjunctivitis is very contagious, one of the reasons we keep people home from work so they don’t spread it to others,” Itskowitz said.

Dr. Itskowitz says the normal symptoms and infections last about seven days.

People infected with pink eye often have swollen, red and/or watery eyes. There are three basic causes of conjunctivitis, it either stems from an allergy, a bacteria or a virus.

Since the infection is so contagious and spreads so easily, many people wonder what they can do to avoid it.

“The best way to avoid pink eye would be to use really good hand hygiene to wash your hands frequently. Certainly if someone around you is infected by it, you want to try to stay far away from them, and if you do get it in one eye there is a real high risk of getting it in the second eye. So good hand hygiene is really important along with sort of avoiding people that are infected,” Itskowitz said.

Listen to Dr. Itskowitz’s full interview below:

You can also listen to the KDKA Afternoon News with Bill Rehkopf weekdays 3-7 p.m.

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