January 10, 2019 7:37 pm
Updated: January 11, 2019 6:24 am

Saskatchewan preschool flu rate higher than other ages: Ministry of Health

WATCH ABOVE: Preschoolers are at the greatest risk of becoming sick from the latest strain of influence spreading through Saskatchewan. Ryan Kessler with the details.

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The lab-confirmed influenza rate for Saskatchewan preschool children is more than six times higher than it is for seniors, according to data from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.

Government figures show the rate of flu among preschoolers dating back to Sept. 1 is also more than triple that of people aged five to 19 years old.

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READ MORE: 6 flu-related deaths in Sask. since September, including 3 young children

The H1N1 virus, which recently peaked in prevalence, puts children under five at the greatest risk, even if they’re otherwise considered healthy.

Flu cases at Regina’s First Years Learning Centre, however, have been “quite low,” according to executive director Tara Jors.

“I think it has a lot to do with all of the hand-washing that we do and all of the toy cleaning,” Jors said.

Whenever a toy is placed in a child’s mouth, staff put it in a bleach and water solution and leave it to dry. Toys are also washed on a regular basis to cut down on virus transmission, Jors said.

WATCH: Dr. Harley Eisman on this year’s flu season

Three Saskatchewan children have been confirmed dead from influenza during the current season.

In May 2016, Jill Promoli’s two-year-old son, Jude, died of cardiac arrest due to influenza, despite the fact the Mississauga boy was vaccinated.

“Jude was one of the people who was in the very small minority who are vaccinated, but fail to develop immunity from their own shot,” Promoli said.

The mother now advocates for people to get the flu shot in order to protect themselves, but also prevent the spread to others.

“We can pass the flu on to people up to six feet away in conversation,” she said.

READ MORE: New agreement expands Sask. pharmacist’s ability to give flu shots

According to Saskatchewan health officials, influenza A has hit its peak, but the virus is expected to transmit for the next few weeks.

Influenza B, generally considered less harmful and less prevalent, is expected to arrive in February or March.

Influenza B is the type of virus that claimed Jude’s life.

“Even though [the flu shot] didn’t protect him, it does protect a lot of people,” his mother said.

Saskatchewan flu shot clinics are no longer being conducted this winter, but the vaccine is available through a physician or a public health office.

Pharmacists can deliver the flu shot to anyone over five years old.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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