As influenza cases begin to appear across the state, Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) officials say the best way to avoid becoming ill is to get a flu shot. Dr. Wendy Braund, state health officer and WDH Public Health Division senior administrator, said almost everyone who is six months or older should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year to help prevent influenza.

Each year, influenza leads to hospitalizations and deaths. “Healthy people can get the flu. They typically get better in a few days but miss school or work. They can also infect others who may not easily recover and are especially vulnerable to flu and its effects,” Braund said.

According to a news release, there were 12 seasonal influenza-associated deaths reported in Wyoming during the 2013-2014 flu season. Last year's peak of reported cases was in early to mid January.

Braund said it takes about two weeks for flu vaccines to offer protection. “We don’t want people to wait to get vaccinated until folks around them are ill. If you’re exposed to the flu virus before the vaccine has had the time it needs to start protecting you, you may still become ill with influenza.”