Climate Effects on Health

Climate change, together with other natural and human-made health stressors, influences human health and disease in numerous ways. Some existing health threats will intensify and new health threats will emerge. Not everyone is equally at risk. Important considerations include age, economic resources, and location.

In the U.S., public health can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems, including disturbances originating here and elsewhere. The health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health.

For more information on the health effects of climate change, visit the Third National Climate Assessment’s Health Chapterexternal icon, Fourth National Climate Assessment’s Health Chapterexternal icon, and the USGCRP Climate and Health Assessmentexternal icon.

For more on the effects of climate change on health in different regions, see “Preparing for the Regional Health Impacts of Climate Change in the United States.” pdf icon[PDF – 4 MB]

National Health Topics

Climate change health effects wheel graphic

Download PowerPoint versions in English ppt icon[PPTX – 4.05 MB] and Spanish ppt icon[PPTX – 1.71 MB]
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Page last reviewed: January 7, 2021