KNOXVILLE (WATE) - If you're feeling under the weather, you're not alone. Health experts say this flu season is coming a little earlier than usual.
According to the CDC, the southeast is experiencing "elevated levels" of flu activity. Right now, reports in Tennessee are sporadic, but several surrounding states, including Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and especially Mississippi, are seeing flu-like viruses spread quickly.
"We're seeing a lot of flu as well as bad upper respiratory infections and sinus infections," said Dr. John Wilkinson. "Last winter was not too bad from an infectious disease standpoint. We had some flu. It certainly seems like we're having more flu this season than we did last season."
The flu normally peaks here in February.
"We are just a little bit early because I've been seeing a rise since the end of October. All through November we have steadily seen an increase," said Connie Cronley, epidemiology nurse for the Knox Count Health Department.
She recommends getting the flu vaccine and washing your hands several times a day to stay well.
"We feel it's never too late to get the flu shot. Each year the flu changes a little bit," she said.
Dr. Wilkinson said most viruses can be treated at home with rest and hydration.
"Cold symptoms by themselves may not warrant a visit to see me, but cold symptoms with a fever, certainly a kid who has asthma, who seems to be wheezing or having trouble breathing certainly that would be a reason to come in," he said.
Doctors and nurses say to stay home from school, work and even church if you're sick. Be sure not to go back until you've been fever free for 24 hours. That will help keep sickness from spreading.