ATLANTA (WCSC) - Charleston is used to topping lists when it comes to tourism, but the latest list in which the Holy City ranks at the top isn't good news.
A new cold and flu prediction map from WebMD predicts Charleston will is likely to have the highest rates of cold and flu symptoms in the nation during the last week of the year.
Dr. Michael Smith, the chief medical editor and medical director of WebMD, says the holidays are a great time to connect and celebrate with friends and family.
"But those celebrations are also opportunities for people to be exposed to more cold and flu germs," Smith says.
A local doctor says a prediction that Charleston will lead the nation in cold and flu symptoms in the last week of the year may come true.
Dr. Steven Bull of Health First in Mt. Pleasant says there's a reason why flu symptoms may rise in our city after Christmas.
"I think this is such a busy travel destination and a lot of people are coming here with an illness from areas where flu or other respiratory infections have a stronger hold already," Bull said.
South Carolina is overall in the severe category when it comes to cold and flu symptoms being reported.
Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton and Beaufort Counties are listed under the moderate-to-severe category of symptoms reported by residents. Berkeley and Georgetown Counties are listed in the moderate category. Williamsburg County is listed in the mild-to-moderate category.
But the ranking comes as temperatures have taken a nose dive over the past 24 hours, with North Charleston reporting a 28-degree drop since Sunday and Moncks Corner reporting a 34-degree drop.
San Diego, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Austin, TX; and Richmond round out the top five cities on the list.
WebMD recommends people with symptoms of a cold, which include a sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and cough, use over-the-counter cold medications. Flu symptoms are similar but also include fever, headache and muscle soreness. Flu patients should see a doctor who may prescribe antiviral medications, according to WebMD.com.
The only other South Carolina area to make the list is the Greenville/Spartanburg area, which ranked at 19th place.
If you haven't started feeling symptoms, doctors recommend keeping hand sanitizer on hand, increasing an intake of garlic, which is known for its antiviral properties, and a thermos of liquid available to help continue fighting off a cold or the flu.