ELKO-NEW MARKET, Minn. (WCCO) — These have been trying days inside the Haugen household.

Asks the children’s father, Chad, “Are you feeling a little better Leo?”

Chad and Kim Haugen have four children under the age of 5. And since Super Bowl Sunday, three of them have been fighting influenza.

“He came in at 3:30 and was coughing, threw up a bit and had a temperature of 103 to 104,” Chad said.

Kim keeps a flow chart to track each child’s temperatures and the medicine they have taken.  On Tuesday morning, she brought one of the children to see their pediatrician.

“He was 104.8 this morning, was lethargic and not moving. It’s frightening to a parent, oh, we were very scared,” Kim said.

According to the most recent Minnesota Department of Health statistics, this flu season is shaping up to be among the more severe of recent years.

With still potentially weeks remaining of the 2017-18 flu season, 3,467 people in Minnesota have been hospitalized – the majority of the patients were 65 or older.

“I don’t know if we’ve seen the peak, we may have,” said family practice physician, Dr. Stephen Robinson.

Dr. Robinson practices at Fairview Clinics Savage location and says for the past few weeks, he’s been treating flu patients every day.

“I’m seeing a couple of patients each day and have been for the past few weeks, so I don’t know yet if we have actually hit the peak,” Dr. Robinson said.

While the influenza vaccine is less effective this year at prevention, the drug Tamiflu can help lessen the severity and shorten the duration of the illness. That is especially helpful for the very young, very old and pregnant women.

“It’s pretty important that we reserve Tamiflu for those who can benefit from Tamiflu,” said Dr. Robinson.

Back at the Haugen house, Chad and Kim are hoping to turn the corner, battling a bug that’s never been this bad.

“In the past it was just mainly him, not three at one time so that’s a lot to take in. That is a lot, and with 4-month old we’re just praying she doesn’t get it,” Kim said.

Bill Hudson