Tracking Climate and Health

Climate refers to temperature, precipitation, wind, and other meteorological factors that occur over several decades or longer.

Extreme heat events, or heat waves, are warmer than normal air masses that last for several days. High temperatures can cause major problems for people without air conditioning or those living in urban areas. CDC tracks the effects of an extreme heat event by collecting and reviewing the number of health conditions reported from local hospitals and the number of deaths reported from state health departments. Reviewing these national data help scientists make comparisons between environmental conditions and health problems.

Other examples of how heat vulnerability data can be used are to:

  • Compare rates across the state to plan interventions;
  • Gain a better understanding of trends in heat-related deaths over time; and
  • Identify communities at risk and the groups of people that may be at high risk.

Heat and Health: Understanding Community Risk


Health Effects from Climate and Extreme Weather

Our climate impacts several important health outcomes such as heat-related illness, allergies, asthma and infectious disease. Vulnerable populations include children, the elderly, people with pre-existing conditions or disabilities, and those living in low-income communities.