CLAXTON, Tenn. (WATE) –– Pharmacists across East Tennessee are busy right now filling prescriptions, testing for COVID-19 and selling over-the-counter remedies for all types of respiratory illnesses.

Kristi Hawn, manager of the pharmacy at Mac’s Pharmacy, said it’s just that time of year.

“Typically like November to March is our busiest time, just because we do have more people doing antibiotics, more cold and flu treatments, doing those tests and things like that,” Hawn said. “Doing flu shots and now COVID shots on top of it, so yeah, this is definitely our busier time of the year.”

Hawn said right now, they’re seeing strep, stomach bugs and sinus problems just to name a few.

“Large increase in the number of flu cases we’ve seen coming in,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of prescriptions coming in for that. I say a lot, more than last year, because we hardly saw any last year.

“And just lot of upper respiratory (issues); people coming in looking for cough medicine, cough drops, decongestants.”

Her biggest sellers currently have anything to deal with the flu or cold.

“We’ve done a lot of like Z-packs, which are very common in the cold and flu season,” Hawn said. “So, we’ve done a lot of those, and just over the counter we’ve had a lot of people asking for decongestants because they have sinus issues.

“We’ve had a lot of cough lately. So doing a lot of cough medicines and cough drops and things along that line.”

Hawn said more people are coming in for COVID-19 tests as well.

“People are coming in, or come to the pharmacy for the test, just because they do have those upper respiratory illnesses, are looking to travel, or have been traveling,” she said. “So we’ve done a lot more tests the last few days.”

She said COVID-19 is still around, but right now people need to be aware it’s also cold and flu season, and the season for just about every other illness.

“I feel like after Thanksgiving when the kids go back to school, it’s just like that short time between there and Christmas, everything just kind of goes wild,” Hawn said.

Hawn said the best defense is to continue practicing clean hygiene and make sure vaccinations are up to date so those illnesses don’t continue to spread.

“Wash your hands,” she said. “Keep wearing your mask. That’s the best thing to do to stay healthy.”