In three months, more than 11,000 patients presented to the emergency department and Wagga doctors are stressing the importance of using it for emergencies only.
The number of patients who presented for treatment between October and December last year was up 12 per cent compared to the year before.
Wagga Base Hospital emergency department director Stephen Wood said winter brings seasonal illnesses.
"We encourage people to think about the level of care that they need," he said.
"For a lot of seasonal illnesses, there isn't any treatment we can provide them and from a public health point of view - staying out of public spaces is better for them and for their fellow human beings."
Dr Wood said most people are a reasonable judge of what care they need.
"We are not trying to push away people away from emergency care," he said.
"They have other options if they don't need us."
Dr Wood said there are pharmacists who can provide leave certificates and there is an after-hours GP service.
Ayman Shenouda, from Glenrock Country Practice and chair of the Wagga GP After Hours committee, said this service is available as an alternative to going to the ED for minor ailments.
"General Practice has the responsibility to triage patients and see what the next suitable step is," he said.
"Your first point of contact should always be your GP.
"When it comes to something urgent and people feel it is urgent they go to the hospital...that is the right thing to do."
Dr Shenouda said the after-hours clinic was a model created by Wagga GPs to give doctors relief while ensuring continuity of care.
"So a patient can see a doctor after-hours and the notes will be sent back to their own doctor," he said.
Dr Shenouda most receptionists and nurses are trained to triage and if they are out of their depth, they can talk to the doctor.
"Sometimes if you have the flu it is better to call and declare what your symptoms are then they can triage you to determine the best place to go," he said.
After Hours GP Clinic Opening times
Monday to Friday: 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Saturday: 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays: 9.00am to 1.00pm and 5.00pm to 9.00pm
Christmas Day: 4.30pm to 6.30pm.
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