As global warming accelerates, climate disruptions pose a serious and increasing threat to people with lung disease.
The climate change issues that are expected to affect respiratory health include increases in:
- Extreme weather events, including heat waves, extreme precipitation, and droughts
- Wildfires and wildfire smoke
- Particulate matter (soot)
- Aeroallergens, including pollens, mold and fungus
- Insect and water borne diseases
- And higher levels of ground-level ozone (smog).
Caretakers and advocates for individuals with lung disease should familiarize themselves with these issues.
The public health response to climate change cannot merely be one of adaptation; the medical and public health communities need to be an active voice in broader climate policy discussions.
This paper serves as a brief primer on how climate change will affect lung health, with a focus on Illinois, and the policies aimed at mitigating further climate disruption.
Date of Publication: May 2016
For more information about climate change and respiratory health, contact Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Policy, via email at [email protected] or by phone at (312) 628-0245.