KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Germs and sickness are spreading throughout East Tennessee, causing some schools to close their doors to disinfect and give students and teachers a chance to get well. It is also causing some to call out sick from work.
When caring for sick patients, how do doctors and nurses fight germs and avoid getting sick?
Dr. Mark Rasnake is an infectious diseases physician at UT Medical Center. He said while it is not always avoidable, there are some preventative measures healthcare workers take.
"Sometimes we do run afoul of whatever is going around the community, but there's ways we protect ourselves from contagious things in the hospital," Dr. Rasnake said.
Dr. Rasnake said hand-washing is very important.
"Before and after every patient we see. We also have things we do like surgical masks for certain contagious illnesses like the flu to keep from breathing in potentially infectious material from our patients," Dr. Rasnake said.
He also said it's important to wash your hands after coming into contact with any high-touch surfaces. That includes door knobs, sink faucets, keyboards and telephones.
Dr. Rasnake said the simple precautions they take really do work to combat germs. He said he is more concerned about picking up germs outside of work.
"I'm more worried about going grocery shopping or to a movie theater where I'm around people in public and I don't have access to hand hygiene, to masks, to gloves. You're more likely to contract contagious diseases in your day-to-day life than at work in a hospital," Dr. Rasnake said.
Washing your hands, a healthy diet and moderate exercise are going to help you avoid getting sick.
"No single thing works, but trying to keep a good, healthy lifestyle all around really will reduce your risk," Dr. Rasnake said.