Desiree Dunomes started feeling sick last week, right before Christmas.

"Coughing, sneezing, congestion in my nose, chills, fever. Yeah, the whole nine yards," Dunomes said.

She felt so miserable she couldn't even go to work.

"The worst of it was Thursday night going into Friday morning," she said. "The chills, the fever. Just feeling horrible."

Doctors said they expect to see more and more patients with symptoms like hers, with the peak of flu season just around the corner.

Dr. Daniel Abel with Beacon Health System at Schwartz-Wiekamp Medical Group said he hasn't yet diagnosed anyone with the flu but is expecting a busy season.

"I'm ready for it. I know that things are going to hit us here pretty soon," Abel said. "We're ready."

January and February are the typical "peak" months for flu season, he said, but in past years, peaks have been seen as late as May.

Abel said our area is on par with what a typical flu season would be so far, but what's different is that the H1N1 strain is back, and it's hitting a certain group harder than others.

"Back in 2009, that's when it was a bigger epidemic. And it tended to affect younger children and younger adults," Abel said. "But this year, the same virus is affecting more adults into middle ages, which is unique. And we're seeing those people end up in the hospital."

Dunomes decided not to get the flu shot, opting for a homemade concoction of pineapple, lemon juice, garlic and ginger instead.

"This is the nature's flu shot," she said.

But Abel said the vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself from getting the flu, and it's also doing a good job of covering the H1N1 strain.

It's not too late to get a flu shot, Abel said. The vaccine takes about a week to reach its full effect, giving people time before the flu season's peak months hit.

"It's a great time to get it if you haven't," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 1,600 cases of the H1N1 flu reported just last week. Last year, about 380,000 people were hospitalized from flu-related illnesses.