A big jump in the number of people being admitted to Hawke's Bay Hospital with serious cases of the flu has led to health officials encouraging more people to get the flu jab.
As at Monday, there were 10 people in Hawke's Bay Hospital with influenza.
Four days later, there were 33 people in the hospital with influenza, with one of those patients requiring intensive care support.
Three of the influenza cases currently in hospital are pregnant women.
It comes during the same week the hospital's ED reported its busiest days on record with almost 200 presentations on both Monday and Tuesday.
The DHB put that high demand at the ED down to a "combination of factors" including the spread of the influenza A virus (the flu).
Hawke's Bay DHB medical officer of health Dr Nick Jones has encouraged everyone to get their flu jab, to avoid falling seriously ill and potentially needing hospital-level care this winter.
Hawke's Bay DHB medical officer of health Dr Nick Jones is asking people to get their flu jab. Photo / NZME
"The flu jab is available now at your GP, pharmacy or hauora provider and is free for pregnant women, Māori and Pasifika people aged 55 and over, everyone 65 and over and people with long-term medical conditions and children who have been in hospital with respiratory illness such as asthma," he said.
"Symptoms come on suddenly and it can keep you in bed for a week or more. It can give you pneumonia and in severe cases means a hospital stay, or even death.
"It is especially important pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions get their free flu jab as they are more likely to become seriously ill from influenza."
The DHB also launched its Winter Wellness campaign this week encouraging people to prioritise their health and take public health advice seriously.
Call Healthline for free 24/7 health support on 0800 611 116 to speak with a registered nurse, or call your GP for a telephone consultation. If you're struggling to breathe or it's an emergency call 111.