Human Health

Background Information

As increased greenhouse gasses warm the Great Lakes region, dangers from heat related ailments will increase. By 2100 the expected number of extremely hot days (over 97 degrees Fahrenheit) in the region is expected to increase. The number may reach an average of 20 annually. These extreme heat days pose great danger to the elderly and the poor who are particularly vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. However, the extremely cold days are expected to decrease. This should reduce cases of hypothermia and other cold-related health risks. In addition to the above human health impacts from climate change, changing weather patterns are expected to increase the concentration of ozone near the ground causing respiratory problems. Finally, diseases carried by ticks and mosquitoes such as encephalitis are expected to increase.

Suggested Activities

  1. Birds, Mosquitoes, and Viruses
  2. Water, Water, Everywhere—Is It Safe?
  3. Weather or Not It Might Make Us Sick

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Look at impacts of climate change on morbidity and mortality due to heat waves (+) and cold weather (-)
  • Infer impact of climate change on infectious disease including waterborne diseases, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, etc.
  • Identify impacts of climate change on regional air quality

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