H1N1 flu virus hitting younger people the hardest

It's turning out to be a bad flu season for middle-aged adults and children.

Island Health's Dr. Dee Hoyano says the dominant virus circulating right now is the H1N1, with 197 lab-confirmed cases to date -- and it's hitting some people pretty hard:

" We've had over 175 hospital admissions that are lab-confirmed influenza positive. And of our lab-confirmed influenza , including people who aren't necessarily admitted to hospital, about a quarter of that has been children under 18."

According to Canada's Public Health Agency says there have been 37 deaths so far, 6 of them pediatric -- 4 of them in Saskatchewan.

As well, the number of children admitted to hospital so far this season is more than double this time last year, and triple the number in the 2016-2017 flu season.

H1N1 is also known as "swine flu", and is closely related to the virus that  caused the Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago. The good news for elderly people is that they've likely been exposed to a form of the virus over their lifetime, so aren't as badly affected as younger people.

Protection against the H1N1 flu was contained in  this year's vaccine which is still available, but takes about 2 weeks to take effect.

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