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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.61

     challenging words:    conjunctivitis, infectious, inflammation, pinkeye, ragweed, viral, discharge, antibiotic, mites, minimum, definitely, allergy, ointment, uncomfortable, prescribe, suspect

By Jennifer Kenny

1     It was springtime. Eddie's allergies were acting up now that there was more pollen in the air. He had been sneezing and sniffing a lot lately. This year he was suffering from a different symptom as well. His eyes were all irritated and red. They both were bothering him as they were itchy and tearing. They also had a clear, thin discharge. His mom took Eddie to the doctor.
2     In the pediatrician's office, the doctor examined Eddie. "What's your concern Mrs. Harris?" Dr. Bloom asked. "I bet it has to do with Eddie's allergies."
3     "Yes and no," Eddie's mom answered. "His allergies are definitely acting up, but I am afraid he has pinkeye as well."
4     "Let's take a look," Dr. Bloom said. He examined Eddie more closely. "Well, you are right, Mrs. Harris," Dr. Bloom said. "He has conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, but not the kind you suspect."
5     "Are there different kinds?" Mrs. Harris asked.
6     "Oh, yes," Dr. Bloom said. "Conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, is the general term for this kind of inflammation of the white part of the eyes and the inner surface of the eyelids. It is very common. There are several causes, though. There are infectious causes, allergic ones, and irritants."
7     Dr. Bloom continued, "You probably thought Eddie had infectious conjunctivitis. Don't worry. He doesn't have that kind. Infectious conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria or virus. It is contagious. It starts in one eye and can spread to the other. It is uncomfortable and painful and makes the eye very red; that's why it's called pinkeye. The eye may look swollen. The discharge for the bacterial conjunctivitis is thick and colored. Sometimes it causes the eyelids to stick together after sleeping. The viral conjunctivitis has a similar appearance but with a thinner and clearer discharge. Sometimes infectious conjunctivitis comes with an ear infection or a sore throat. Kids spread the germ to each other when they share towels, touch tissues, or cough or sneeze on one another. Bacterial pinkeye needs an antibiotic drop or ointment. Viral is sometimes treated with those items anyway because it can be difficult to tell them apart."
8     "Eddie," Dr. Bloom went on, "has allergic conjunctivitis. It is common seasonally to those who are bothered by grass or ragweed pollen and year-round to those who are bothered by certain animals or dust mites. His form of pinkeye bothers both eyes at the same time. While it can look the same as other forms, it is also accompanied by itchiness and tearing. It is not contagious."
9     "How can I help him then?" Mrs. Harris asked. "He's miserable."

Paragraphs 10 to 23:
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