PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Officials say that already this summer, the dangerously hot temperatures have contributed to the deaths of 19 people, 15 of whom died during last week’s heat wave.

As the mercury rises and sun shines across the Delaware Valley, neighbors like Margaret Marshall of Mt. Airy are finding relief indoors.

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“Fortunately, I have an air conditioner, so I run it night and day,” said Marshall.

Umbrellas, baseball caps and light clothing are just a few ways to beat the heat.

Joann Brown, who is 81-years-old, takes advice from her son.

“My son says, ‘Mom, keep the air conditioning on, keep the air conditioning on,’ so that’s what I do,” said Brown, of North Philadelphia.

Jericka Duncan reports…

“In some of the recent deaths we’ve experienced, the number one common denominator does seem these people are living alone,” said Sharon Congleton, a registered nurse with the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging.

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She encourages the elderly to drink plenty of water, open the windows at home and use an air conditioning unit or fan.

“This is a community effort,” expressed Congleton. “Everyone has to be involved in this. There are not enough people in neighborhoods that are checking on our elderly residents.”

Luckily, Brown says aside from her son, several of her neighbors call to make sure she is okay during heat waves.

“I have a friend down the street from me,” said Brown. “She calls every single day, and she says to me, ‘Ms. Brown are you still breathing?’”

The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging offers a helpline if you have any questions. They can be reached at 215-765-9040.

Reported by Al Novack, KYW Newsradio 1060; Jericka Duncan, CBS3

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