Published: 22 April 2024

Climate change poses a fundamental threat to human health.

Warmer temperatures heighten the risk to maternal and neonatal health, mental health, and chronic conditions including asthma, kidney disease, and diabetes.  

As temperatures and weather patterns change, infections caused by water-borne and food-borne bacteria like Salmonella will rise and the range and survival of ticks and mosquitoes that transmit diseases will expand. Eggs of mosquitos that carry Dengue Fever and Zika have already been found in the UK. 

Worsening air pollution is linked to many respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and is estimated to cause up to 40,000 deaths a year in the UK.  

Charities can play an important role in raising awareness of the health impacts of climate change and advocating for positive change.  

Below you can find reports and events highlighting the health impacts of climate change and how to address them.

  • A UK Health Security Agency report draws together evidence on the impact of climate change on UK health, and highlights evidence gaps and future priorities.  
  • The UK Health Security Agency Weather-Health Altering System provides guidance for addressing the health impacts of hot and cold weather, and wants to develop personalised guidance for vulnerable populations.  
  • The Physiological Society’s report explores the impact of extreme heat caused by climate change on the human body. It identifies vulnerable groups most at risk of adverse health outcomes such as older populations, pregnant people, children and infants, and those with underlying health conditions. The report also highlights research gaps in the impacts of heat on health, particularity around vulnerable populations, and calls for greater focus and funding in these areas, to improve the UK’s heat resilience.
  • The Epilepsy Society Rare and hot: climate change and rare diseases symposium brought together researchers, clinicians and patient groups to explore the impact of climate change on health, discussing recent evidence on the link between extreme heat and aspects of neurological conditions such as seizures, and rarer conditions that have impacted thermoregulation. 

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