Wyoming Department of Health officials are urging state residents to get their flu shots now before the influenza season hits full stride.

WDH spokeswoman Kim Deti says we are already starting to see some early signs of flu season, and since the flu shot takes a couple of weeks to take full effect, it's important to get vaccinated early.

WDH epidemiologist Reggie McClinton says the first reports of the flu have been trickling in from around the state. Last year's Wyoming flu season was considered moderately severe, and the state recorded 15 flu-related deaths.

Most of the Wyoming deaths were of older residents, and even though healthy people usually recover from influenza, they can transmit the virus to more vulnerable folks, including the elderly.

Deti says flu vaccines are available from private doctors, local public health offices, workplaces and many retail stores. She says the shots are covered by most health insurance plans, adding the department has help available for many adults and children. Deti says people can ask about programs to help cover the cost of the shots anywhere the shots are availalble.

Deti also says nasal mist vaccines that have been available in previous years have been found to be less effective than the shots and are no longer being recommended.