Blount Memorial Hospital is asking patient families and friends to be cautious when visiting hospitalized patients during this time and to avoid unnecessary visits.
Officials say there are a number of different illnesses spreading rapidly through the community. The hospital is seeing many cases of gastrointestinal viruses, influenza and upper respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
One way to fight the spread of illness is through handwashing, and tips for proper hand hygiene include using a dime-size amount of liquid soap, and scrubbing vigorously for at least 15 seconds using warm water and plenty of lather. Bacteria may harbor under nails, cuticles and knuckles, so scrubbing those areas also is important.
Rinse your hands with fingers pointed downward to make sure contaminants go down the drain and not up your arm. When finished, turn off the faucet with a paper towel, and dry your hands completely with a clean paper towel.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers also may be used to disinfect hands. Apply it to the palm of one hand and rub your hands together, making sure to cover all surfaces until your hands are completely dry.