A hospital in Lumberton is urging area residents to use the emergency room only for emergencies.
Southeastern Regional Medical Center president Joann Anderson says many of the people visiting the emergency room could be better treated in a different setting.
Anderson's statement recommends the Southeastern Urgent Care centers in Lumberton and Pembroke or The Clinic at Wal-Mart in Lumberton.
A hospital spokeswoman says one reason for the increase in emergency room visits now is a sharp increase in influenza. More than 60 patients have tested positive for the flu virus in the last couple of weeks.
The statement recommends that local residents get flu vaccinations.