KALISPELL — Two Flathead County residents over the age of 65 have died due to complications from influenza.

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services says the deaths reported by the Flathead City-County Health Department on Wednesday are the first two flu-related deaths reported in the state this season.

Last year, the flu contributed to 56 deaths in Montana.

Health officials urge anyone ages 6 months or older to be vaccinated against influenza, a highly contagious virus whose symptoms include fever, chills, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, headache, muscle ache and fatigue. Vaccines are especially recommended for people ages 65 or older, young children and people with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems.

It takes about two weeks after receiving a flu shot to develop antibodies against the virus.