Staff at community hospitals around Cornwall are being asked to cut short their Christmas break and return to work due to an increase in admissions.
The appeal has been made to about 100 staff who work at nine hospitals.
Managers said the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro had had a rise in admissions and some patients had to now be discharged to local hospitals.
Winter flu viruses and cold conditions have been blamed for the increase in emergency medical cases.
The Royal Cornwall Hospital has been admitting up to 60 emergency cases a day since Monday, about 25% more than usual.
Hospitals are advising people with flu-like symptoms to first contact the NHS Direct service and pharmacists.
It is also advising people to wash their hands to prevent the spread of flu.
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