DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -

Health officials in central Iowa are asking people with minor illnesses to avoid hospital emergency rooms because of an influx of flu-related cases.

Officials at several hospitals in the Des Moines area said Thursday that local emergency rooms are experiencing heavy volumes of patients and wait times due to flu cases. They recommend that people with non-life-threatening illnesses visit their primary health care provider, a local urgent care or walk-in clinic.

Officials say the visitors will be limited at Mercy Medical Center of Des Moines and facilities under the Iowa Health system. They called the restrictions temporary.

Iowa health officials have noted a jump in flu cases this season. They are encouraging residents to get vaccinated.