Heat and Health

Climate change is increasing average and extreme temperatures. Scientists are confident that future warming could lead to thousands of additional deaths each year from summer heat if no actions are taken to reduce heat-related risks. Summer days that are hotter than normal can cause increased illness and death when the body loses its ability to regulate internal temperature. This loss of control can result in hypothermia, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heatstroke. Extreme temperatures can also worsen chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses.

Hotter temperatures also negatively affect air quality, increasing the levels of ground-level ozone. Further, warmer temperatures are increasing the length of the pollen season, as well as increasing the amount of pollen produced in some years. These changes in air quality can result in more cases of asthma, allergies, and other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.