Social workers on 'high alert' to identify people struggling in heat

Social workers are on high alert to check on people having difficulties in the heat, council leaders said.

But the Local Government Association (LGA) also urged the public to check on vulnerable or elderly neighbours, family or friends.

The LGA urged people to take health precautions in the heat.

As temperatures soar, the LGA warned that the elderly and those suffering from heart and respiratory problems are most at risk.

Social workers, community wardens and maintenance staff are all on high alert to identify those who could be struggling, it said.

Council workers will be making calls and extra visits to people at risk, but it also urged the public to keep an eye on people vulnerable to heat.

Izzi Seccombe, chairwoman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "The hundreds of deaths caused by high temperatures each year are avoidable.

"Social workers, community wardens and maintenance staff are all on high alert, identifying and looking out for those who might be struggling.

"Councils are determined to reduce the toll as much as possible, but they cannot do it alone. Local people can make a massive difference by helping us identify other residents who might need some advice or practical help.

"No-one is immune to the power of the sun.

"Drinking plenty of water, keeping our homes cool, avoiding direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day and using sunscreen are sensible precautions we all need to remember. Looking around at how our older neighbours are coping as we walk our children to school or head to the beach for a day out takes no effort, but could be crucial in making sure they are also able to make the best of the summer."

Public Health England's top tips for staying safe in the heat are:

- Look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions

- Close curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors

- Drink plenty of water as sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated

- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm

- Take care and follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down

- Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat

- Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day

- Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes

- Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling

Diabetes UK said that diabetes patients may need to take extra care to manage their condition as temperatures soar.

Age UK called on people to check on the elderly.

Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: "It's easy to underestimate the threat posed by hot weather, but the fact is our bodies are less able to cope with extremes of temperature as we get older, making us more susceptible to heat-related illness."

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