ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Doctors say a lot of people in Southwest Georgia are starting their new year sick, but not with the illness you'd think during flu season.
Though Albany doctors have seen some flu case, patients at a couple doctors' offices have mostly come in with viral infections, like colds, sinus infections or bronchitis.
"It's very easy to transmit an infection like this," said Dr. Derrick Taylor, who practices general internal medicine at Phoebe.
"We're seeing a lot of nasal congestion, a lot of coughs, headaches," said Nancy McKemie, a physician's assistant with Allergy & Asthma Clinics of Georgia.
"You can't avoid people, especially our loved ones and our coworkers," said Taylor. "We can't just avoid people completely."
So, for people already sick with viral infections, Dr. Taylor said it's important to stay home.
"Coming to work while sick will help transmit the virus," Taylor explained.
You can get over-the-counter decongestants to help, but doctors said these infections have to run their course.
If family members or co-workers have already gotten sick, you can do some things to keep from getting what they have.
One of those things is washing your hands.
"Multiple times a day. Anytime you go in a store, or touching any types of cabinets or doorknobs," McKemie explained.
If you feel yourself starting to get sick, drink lots of fluids to make it a little easier on your body.
"Use salt water nose spray, saltwater gargles if you have a sore throat, and that will help keep everything humidified," said McKemie.
As of December 30, the CDC reported the flu was widespread in all but 5 states here in the U.S., including Georgia.
Dr. Taylor said Friday that it is not too late for you to get your flu shot.