A HEATWAVE health warning has been issued across the south as the region remains in the grip of hot weather.

Council bosses, charities and health professionals put their staff on high alert as Hampshire faced its hottest day of the year today when temperatures were predicted to rise to 29C (84F).

Nurses, carers and social workers have been urged to keep a close eye on the most vulnerable people in the hope of preventing deaths caused by hot weather.

Care workers have been phoning and visiting the sick and elderly in their homes more often.

They are advising people to drink lots to avoid dehydration, not to go out during the hottest times of day and to wear loose clothing, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses when outside.

They also urged everyone to look out for their neighbours, particularly the elderly or sick, young children and babies who are most at risk.

It comes after the Met Office issued a “level three heat health watch” for London and the south-east as Britain basked in its first prolonged heatwave since 2006.

In a previous heatwave in August 2003, more than 2,000 people died in ten days.

A Southampton City Council spokeswoman said: “We have been working with our local health and social care providers, including those who look after the elderly and other vulnerable people, to ensure we are doing everything we can to help people cope with the heat.

“The very young and elderly are particularly vulnerable, so we hope that residents will look out for neighbours at this time, and take extra precautions when spending long periods in the sun, especially while attending events in the city.”

Judy Hillier, director of nursing at Solent NHS Trust, said: “We are making sure our patients have got a constant and easy supply of water and their ward environment is comfortable.

“We also look after patients in the community in their own homes and our nurses are making additional checks such as telephone calls and visits to their patients so that we help them to stay hydrated.

“With high temperatures expected over the next few days, we would encourage everybody to take sensible precautions to look after themselves and keep hydrated and protected and look out for their neighbours.”

Ten private ambulances are being drafted into Hampshire to cope with expected demand amid the continuing hot weather.

South Central Ambulance Trust has taken the measure after an increase in emergency calls.

Forecasters have predicted another five days of unbroken sunshine.

However, temperatures are set to drop slightly towards the weekend with highs of 25C (77F) tomorrow then 22C (73F) and 23C (72F) Saturday and Sunday.