(CBS) — You may not want to give thanks for this: there are increasing signs that the flu season has arrived.

The Cook County Health Department believes flu cases have dramatically increased in suburban areas.

What to do? CBS 2’s Mike Parker has some answers in this Healthwatch report.

The Salvation Army bell ringer outside Walgreen’s in Oak Lawn is not just ringing in the holiday season but the flu season too. Just ask the pharmacist inside.

“We’ve seen a large amount of people coming in and reporting flu like symptoms, looking for over the counter products, recommendations from the pharmacist,” said Kevin Swanson.

Cook County says there’s been a 32 percent spike in cases like that in the past two weeks. Chances are it’s too late for them to get the flu shots that might have prevented those symptoms.

The vaccines are not 100 percent effective, but they give most people a fighting chance to beat influenza.

“We’ve seen a large increase in foot traffic, people coming in asking for the flu shot just in the past couple weeks,” Swanson said.

The bell ringer Demetrius Dawson doesn’t have his flu shot yet, “but I got an appointment with my doctor to take me and my son and daughter to get it. It’s coming up next week.”

If you do come down with the flu, doctors say you should not go back to work or back to school until 24 hours after the fever goes away naturally, that is without the use of a fever reducing medicine.