There has long been a rumor concerning conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Can this common malady really be spread by farting on your pillow, then using your pillow to rest your head?
Pink eye is also called by its medical name, conjunctivitis. It is a painful inflammation and swelling of the outermost layer of your eye, also known as the conjunctiva. This can be caused by an allergic reaction, or by a virus and bacteria. The latter two are contagious, while the former is not. This is often passed from one person to another by simple touch. It’s easy to see how a whole room of people could wind up passing pink eye around.
The idea that you can get pink eye from farting is an urban legend. Pink eye usually comes from bad hygiene, such as not washing your hands regularly, or touching other things and then touching your eyes. Unfortunately, this happens very often. We touch our face throughout the day, often without realizing we are doing so – for instance, scratching an itchy spot on your forehead might be so automatic that you don’t actually realize you did it. However, this can spread viruses and bacteria to the area. If you don’t wash your face often, those viruses and bacteria can accumulate and eventually spread into your eye, setting up the problem.
There are also other ways to get pink eye. Those who have a staph infection or gonorrhea might face this problem. Bacteria that can be found in smoke and even on contact lenses can increase the risk. Finally, remember that those with dry eyes have a lower tolerance for viruses and bacteria in that area, and can wind up with conjunctivitis much faster than someone who doesn’t have a problem with dry eyes.
In addition, there is some question about whether the gas expelled from the body when you fart could lead to pink eye. What is expelled from your body is mostly methane, and methane alone cannot cause pink eye.
With that said, there is a very slim chance that you might get pink eye from someone farting on your pillow – but the conditions have to be exactly right in order for this to happen. First, the person would have to fart on your pillow without anything between themselves and the pillowcase. Secondly, they would have to deposit enough bacteria there to cause a problem. Third, you would have to lie down on the pillow immediately in order to get the bacteria on your skin, which is unlikely, as bacteria don’t survive very long in the open air.
But keep in mind that this “perfect storm” of flatulence, bacteria and skin contact would be extremely unlikely to happen in any situation. If you are still concerned, be sure to change your pillowcase if you or anyone else passes gas near or on your pillow. This will help ensure that you won’t have any problems at all, as well as provide you with the peace of mind you need to know that you won’t get pink eye from farting.