MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Christmas and New Year's Day are right around the corner, and many events have been planned with friends and family. Coming down with an illness is probably not part of the plans for you. Doctors say within the last two weeks the flu has been mounting an attack.
This flu season has been quieter, but this week, especially, a lot of school-aged kids have come down with the illness, and it's probably not what you want to give your kids for the holidays.
You can pick up flu germs and not know it.
"There's typically a 7-10 day lag period between exposure and when you actually get the flu," says Dr. Ron Reynolds with Beach Urgent Care.
The last day you want to worry about whether you're coming down with the flu when you're preparing your feast.
The sickness starts with the symptoms, which can vary yearly and by strain. Doctors said this year has been an unusual one so far, for the flu.
"So far what we're seeing is just very low-grade symptoms,” according to Dr. Reynolds. “Low grade headache, body aches, low grade fever. So far, we haven't been seeing a lot of vomiting."
So that means if you wake up with a headache feeling a achy and a little "off," it could be more than the common cold.
“We've had a little bit of a problem in that the flu vaccine hasn't been quite as effective as it has been in past years,” says Dr. Reynolds. “So even if you have had your flu vaccine, you're a little bit more susceptible to the flu than in most years.”
But that doesn't mean you don't need the vaccine, if you haven't already gotten it.
“In any given year, we're not restricted to one strain of the flu. There can be several strains that come through. And just because the flu vaccine may not be that effective against one, doesn't mean it won't be against the others."
Doctors say if you want to keep the "Flu Grinch" from stealing Christmas and stay healthy through the new year, skip the junk food and eat healthy food with plenty of water and sleep.
You know the drill: keep your hands clean.
Doctors say the fear shouldn't be people sneezing on you or airborne germs.
The most likely way to get sick is hand-to-hand contact and touching your face without washing your hands.
In fact, doctors at Grand Strand Medical Center say if your hands are scaly, it usually means you're doing your job keeping them clean.