How do you get rid of pink eye before it gets really bad?

Viral conjunctivitis. Pink eye is almost always caused by a virus. True bacterial conjunctivitis is actually extremely rare. Because of this antibiotics typically do not help pink eye and unfortunately you just have to let it run it's course. Lubricating drops and sometimes steroid drops can help with your symptoms. That being said there are many causes of a red eye and you should see your eye dr for further evaluatio.
Topical antibiotics. True pink-eye, bacterial conjunctivitis, needs treatment with antibiotic eye drops. It's characterized by mattering of the eyes and severe burning and itching. Viral, allergic, or chemical conjunctivitis can sometimes cause a milder burning or itching. Treating allergies or avoiding the chemical irritation can sometimes keep these from turning into bacterial conjunctivitis.
See doctor. Pink eye/conjunctivitis is an infection of the lining of the eyelids and eye, sometimes accompanied by an inflamed lash follicle. The condition is easily spread to others; so wash hands frequently, especially if you rub eyes; do not wear contact lenses until infxn is gone; dispose of your mascara (do that regularly every 3 months). See your fp for treatment as soon as possible.
Conjunctivitis. If there is severe inflammation and pain with viral conjunctivitis, especially with corneal lesions called subepithelial infiltrates, prescription topical steroids may be necessary. The mainstay of treatment though is symptom relief with tears and antihistamine drops for itching and good handwashing. Antibiotic drops for bacterial conjunctivitis.