Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital responding to widespread flu outbreak

February 13, 2018

SYLVA, NC – Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital continue to respond to the flu outbreak affecting the region. The rate of positive flu tests in one sample performed at the hospitals’ labs nearly doubled in 2018 compared to 2017. The hospitals are committed to ensuring the safety of patients, visitors, and staff and will continue to limit visitation for the duration of the seasonal flu outbreak. If you must visit the hospital for tests or procedures and are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please wear a mask and inform your healthcare provider.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that if a person begins to experience flu-like symptoms, proper precautions should be taken to decrease spreading the virus to family members, coworkers and the community. In addition, a patient does not have to be positively diagnosed to begin treatment for flu-like symptoms, according to the CDC. Staff are trained to identify and treat flu-like symptoms during this outbreak, which has caused a national shortage of flu testing kits consisting of a nasal swab.

Proper precautions after experiencing the onset of symptoms include:

  • Visit your primary care physician if you are experiencing symptoms including fever, chills, sneezing, coughing, headache, tiredness or nausea. Symptoms in children may include fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color and persistent sleeping. After consultation, your doctor may prescribe you antiviral medication to help lessen the effect of your sickness.
  • Limit contact with others
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will work as well
  • Clean all surfaces and items that may be contaminated. Items include cell phones, electronic devices, toys, etc.
  • Stay at home until you feel better. According to the CDC, you should stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone  

If you do not have a primary care physician, dial 844.414.DOCS (3627) for a complete list of local practices and physicians. For more information on the flu and how to best protect you and your family, visit www.cdc.gov/flu