The diagram shows specific examples of how climate change can affect human healthnow and in the future. These effects could occur at local, regional, or national scales. The overall climate impact is summarized in the final gray column. For a more comprehensive look at how climate change affects health, and to see the environmental, institutional, social, and behavioral factors that play an interactive role in determining health outcomes, see the exposure pathway diagrams in chapters 2—8.
Recreation Health Heat waves, severe storms, air pollution, and diseases linked to climate already threaten people's health in many areas of the world.
Global climate change will increase these threats. Some people will be particularly at risk, especially those who are poor, very young or elderly, or disabled, or those who live in coastal areas or big cities. Temperature—Related Illnesses Heat waves are uncomfortable for everyone, but for infants and young children, the elderly, and people who are already sick, they can be especially dangerous.
Extreme heat can cause illnesses such as heat cramps, heat stroke, and even death. A heat wave in Europe caused about 50, deaths, and a heat wave in Chicago caused more than deaths. In fact, heat waves cause more deaths in the United States every year than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined.
On the flip side, as the world gets warmer, the number of illnesses and deaths related to extreme cold like hypothermia and frostbite may decrease.
What can people do about it? People should take precautions on hot days to keep cool. Cities can also set up heat wave warning systems and air-conditioned shelters where people can cool off.
Air Pollution You probably know someone with asthma, or maybe you have this condition yourself. Certain kinds of air pollutants, like ozone, can make asthma and other lung conditions worse.
Ozone found high in the atmosphere is called "good ozone" because it protects life on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.
Bad ozone is created from pollutants that go through chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Climate change is likely to increase the amount of bad ozone in the air because more ozone is created when the temperature is warm.
Learn more about ozone. People can check the daily air quality forecast for their area by looking in the newspaper, on TV, or on weather websites. Air quality alerts can also be found at www.
When ozone levels are high, people should be careful about exercising or working outdoors. Spreading Diseases Climate change might allow some infectious diseases to spread. As winter temperatures increase, ticks and mosquitoes that carry diseases can survive longer throughout the year and expand their ranges, putting more people at risk.
One big concern is malaria, a deadly disease spread by mosquitoes in many hot, humid parts of the world. People should take common-sense steps to avoid tick and mosquito bites, and communities can take actions to control mosquitoes, such as removing sources of standing water.
It's also important for doctors to know the symptoms of diseases that could be spreading to new areas so they can diagnose and treat their patients.Global Climate Change Impacts on the United States, a report from the United States Global Change Research Program summarizing the impacts of climate change based on data from across the United States government.
Tackle Climate Change; Protect Land & Water; Provide Food & Water Sustainably; Build Healthy Cities; Our Insights. Perspectives; Reports; Data & Tools; Insights from Mark Tercek; Global Insights. Explore the latest thinking from our experts on some of the most significant challenges we face today, including climate change, food and water security, and city growth.
Climate is the average weather in a place over a period of time. Climate change is major change in temperature, rainfall, snow, or wind patterns lasting for many years. One important determinant of how much climate will change is the effect of so-called “feedbacks” in the climate system, which can either dampen or amplify the initial effect of .
We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change—but not without you.
Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. Some climate-change impacts present opportunities, while others pose risks, but climate change in general is projected to be disruptive, with an overall negative impact on both society and the environment.
Although regional and local uncertainties about the effects of climate change remain, the general trends are now fairly well understood.