We're having a fairly early and aggressive flu season this year, in part because of one influenza A strain. Levels of positive flu tests are much higher than they've been in the past five years.

Forty-one states have high levels of influenza. One child in Washington state has died so far this year. Three people died in Snohomish County last month.

Everyone over 5 months of age needs a flu shot. This previously healthy 17-year-old who died in Minnesota is spurring a lot of online discussion.

KING 5's Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a pediatrician at the Everett Clinic. She's also known to many of you as Seattle Mama Doc. Here are her five truths about the flu:

1. The flu shot doesn't cause the flu.

2. The flu isn't a vomiting or diarrhea illness. It's a very contagious cold causing fever, aches, cough and snot.

3. It's pretty common to get the flu each year. (Ten to 40 percent of children get the flu each year. Five to 20 percent of adults get the flu each year.)

4. The flu shot is a great match for current widespread infections.

5. It's not too late for a flu shot. You're protected two weeks after the shot/spray.

Things for parents to know

Flu is common. Up to 20 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children get it every year.

Flu can be more dangerous in young children and babies.

All children over 6 months need a flu shot.

This is a particularly aggressive flu season.

There's still time for a flu shot.

For more information

Flu finder:How to find a shot near you now

CDC What you should know about 2012-2013 flu season

Why a Flu Shot Every Year

HealthMap Vaccine Finder

More about Dr. Swanson:Facebook | Twitter:@ | Read Her Blog

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