A few years ago, traveling in Jerusalem, I picked up a terrible souvenir: the flu. Rather than visiting important landmarks, I went sightseeing in the hospital emergency room. An important lesson came from that trip: always get a flu shot.
There are six options, some of them new this year:
Every once in a while – four times in the last century – the flu virus changes so dramatically that few people have the partial immunity that they developed from exposure to related strains in previous years. That's called a pandemic, as in the Type A H1N1 pandemic of 2009. Once a large percentage of the population developed immunity to that strain, through a combination of vaccination and infection, it no longer had pandemic potential, and its successors have been among the seasonal flu strains for the past few years.
Even the seasonal flu is serious, and we're fortunate to have a vaccine that can help keep us healthy. Do yourself (and everyone you know) a favor and get a flu shot. I will.