The Ebola virus is a serious international concern and every precaution must be taken to ensure the deadly virus doesn’t spread. But at AFC Urgent Care, we want to emphasize another virus, just as deadly as Ebola, if not more, which knocks at our door much more often than the Ebola virus.

In the U.S alone we normally see anywhere from 30,000 to 90,000 people per year dying from the flu, according to the CDC in the United States.

And the flu can be deadly. In 1918-19, an estimated 50 million to 100 million people died from the Spanish Influenza worldwide as it ravaged countries at the end of the World War I.

Because it is so common, the flu “is not sexy,” especially compared with Ebola, which is dominating news coverage and people’s everyday conversation over the past few months.

The facts are that the flu is much more easily transmitted than Ebola. Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Shaking someone’s hand or hugging someone would rarely lead to an Ebola infection.

One would  have to come into very close contact with someone who, for instance, has projectile vomiting and diarrhea. That is how two nurses in Dallas contracted the virus from a patient who had visited Liberia in West Africa, where the disease has killed thousands.

This should come as a relief who worry that they may contract Ebola in a public place, or in a doctors office waiting area. One would have had to come in close, fluid transmitting contact with someone who has just come back from one of the West African nations who have been infected with Ebola to contract it.

The  flu, on the other hand,  is more easily transmitted because it is an airborne virus. Someone with the flu who is coughing can spread it to others, and it can also be spread from touching items that have been contaminated by someone else, such as places in public transit or door knobs.

Important precautions to protect oneself from contracting the flu include washing your hands and wearing a mask if you have a cold or a fever and are visiting someone in the hospital, and for school children, instructing them not to share juice boxes, or snacks is key.

The single biggest preventative step to take is to get a flu shot.

Although some people may have a reaction to the shot, such as a low grade fever or some discomfort, catching the flu can be much worse, and possibly life threatening, to those with weakened immune systems.