CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's an age-old question, should you or shouldn't you get your flu shot?
And when it comes to the vaccine, what are some of the common misconceptions?
At Novant Health in Charlotte, health officials are seeing moderate flu volumes in patients, which is why doctors are urging you to start taking precautions now if haven't already.
In North Carolina, five influenza-related deaths have been reported so far this season since Oct. 1., that’s according to the CDC.
And as for South Carolina, they are one of three states that are seeing a high volume of influenza-like illnesses.
"South Carolina is seeing more influenza-like illness and we would anticipate that would spread to us across our border in the near future," said Novant Health Medical Director Charles Bregier.
Aches, pain, nausea and fever are the flu symptoms that can really knock you down. Plus, with hundreds of thousands of people making their way home for the holidays, a few simple steps can ensure a healthy and successful trip.
If you’re already sick and plan to travel, it's best to not book that trip.
But if you absolutely must head out: rule number one is to disinfect and cover your mouth with a mask.
According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on surfaces for two to eight hours. So wash your hands before meals and after using the restroom, take hand sanitizer everywhere and use it after stowing luggage or after using bins.
You should also take a travel size package of disinfecting wipes for using the plane's armrest and tray table.
Bottom line, don’t expose yourself and stay away from people who are coughing, sneezing or even look sick.
Bregier gives the simplest advice.
“Get the flu shot if you haven’t had it yet, it takes about 10 days to build immunity to the flu and it will give you protection for all the strains you could get exposed to later in the year," he said.
While peak flu season hasn't been declared just yet, doctors say flu season started early this year in September.
So while you’re packing to go see your family for the holidays, keep these things in mind to avoid germs during your travel.
"Make sure you’re using hand sanitizer a lot, carry a little pocket one with you and use it whenever you touch doorknobs open doors.”
Along with traveling, if you’re at work, school and see people around you coughing or sneezing.
"Try to stay away from them," Bregier said.
Doctors also urge you to not listen to the biggest myth of all.
"People think they can get the flu from the flu vaccine and you cannot," Bregier said.
Doctors say right now there’s no word on which flu strain is dominating this season. Which is why health experts agree the best way to prevent the flu, is to get the flu shot over the nasal spray.
Doctors also say get the flu shot early because it takes two weeks for antibiotics to develop that protect against the flu.