Climate Change and Your Health

Climate Change Health Threats in Ohio

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Ozone Smog and Allergenic Ragweed Occurrence   >= 1 unhealthy ozone days/yr (2002-2006)   Both ragweed and ozone present and >= 1 unhealthy ozone days/yr (2002-2006)   Ragweed present only   Neither or missing data
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Average Number, Summer Days Per Year of Extreme Heat, 2000-2009   <= 9.0   9.1 - 13.8 (More than expected)   > 13.8 (More than expected)   Insufficient data in county
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Dengue Fever Vulnerability, 1995-2005 data   Areas vulnerable to dengue fever infection   Counties reporting positive for one or both dengue mosquito vector species, as of 2005   No mosquito vectors reported as of 2005
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2000-2009 Averages, Number of Days Per Year of Extreme Low Flow by Watershed   < 15   15 - 33   > 33   Insufficient flow data
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2000-2009 Averages, Number of Days Per Year of Extreme High Flow by Watershed   < 15   15 - 23   > 23   Insufficient flow data
Floodwatch Stations Number of Days Above Flood Stage Per Year < 1 1 - 10 > 10
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Extreme Weather Events
Record Rainfall
Record temperature
Extreme drought
Record Snowfall
Wildfire
Extreme flooding
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Air Pollution

Many people are facing a double whammy of air quality threats that will worsen with climate change:

  • Warming will cause Cleveland to have 11 more days per summer that exceed EPA's air quality standards, and Columbus will see a 28 percent drop in the number of clean air days per summer.3
  • Four cities rank among the 20 most soot-polluted in the country.4
  • 72 counties have ragweed pollution and 28 counties have unhealthy smog levels; at least 25 counties suffer from both.5
  • Asthma sickens an estimated 257,000 kids and 832,300 adults.6

Protect your family from air pollution:

  • Check news reports on the radio, TV, or online for pollen reports or daily air quality conditions. Or visit EPA's Air Now for air quality info and avoid outdoor activity on bad air days particularly for people with asthma or other respiratory diseases.
  • After spending time outdoors, wash off pollen that may have collected on your face, skin, or hair.

Find out more about the effects of air pollution

Extreme Heat

  • Nearly 60,000 people live in an area where average summertime temperatures set records in 2010 and 6 counties also saw record-breaking nighttime temperatures.7
  • By the 2080s, cities like Cincinnati could see 85 days over 90°F (32°C)8 and a month of days with temperatures over 100°F (38°C).9
  • A 1995 Chicago heat wave killed more than 700 people -- by mid-century, Cincinnati could expect two similar heat waves every year.10

Protect your family from extreme heat:

  • Limit exertion during heat waves and high temperature days, drink plenty of water and take cool showers or baths, and stay inside or in the shade.
  • Check on elderly or at-risk friends or neighbors regularly -- or ask someone to look in on you if you feel vulnerable to heat.

Find out more about the effects of extreme heat

Infectious Diseases

  • 21 cases of Dengue Fever were reported between 1995-2005, and 20 counties have a type of mosquito that can transmit the virus (as of 2005).11
  • 715 cases of West Nile virus were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1999-2010.12
  • 933 cases of Lyme disease were reported to CDC between 1990-2008.13

Protect your family from infectious diseases:

  • When planning international travel, check with the CDC's website for information on recent disease outbreaks and take appropriate precautions.
  • During mosquito season at home, apply insect repellent with 20-30 percent DEET in the mornings and early evenings.

Find out more about the effects of infectious diseases

Drought

  • Temperature increases in the summer will increase the likelihood of drought.14
  • About 80% of the state's counties now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of climate change.15

Protect your family from droughts:

Find out more about the effects of drought

See more about Ohio's state action plan for drought

Flooding

  • Heavy rains are expected to be more frequent, leading to more flash flooding.16
  • The state has been declared a disaster area 4 times since 2000, due to severe storms and flooding that cost millions of dollars in damages.17
  • Combined sewer overflows are a health risk for nearly 90 communities, including Cincinnati and Columbus.18
  • Extreme rains wash nutrients into waterways, and along with rising temperatures can increase risks of harmful, toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes.19

Protect your family from floods and related illnesses:

  • Familiarize yourself with your region's vulnerability to flooding and its local emergency evacuation plans.
  • Prepare your own plan -- including where your family will stay in case of flooding and what you'll do if a relative is sickened by contaminated water.

Find out more about the effects of flooding

See more about Ohio's state action plan for flooding

Extreme Weather

Ohio experienced in 2011:

  • Record-breaking heat in 6 counties and a total of 7 broken heat records
  • Record-breaking rainfall in 22 counties and a total of 43 broken rainfall records
  • Record-breaking snow in 1 county and a total of 1 broken snowfall record

Protect your family from extreme weather:

Find out more about the effects of extreme weather

Ohio's Climate Adaptation Strategy

Drought:

Ohio's strategy to prepare for climate change identifies drought as a health-related threat due to climate change but does not include specific measures to address this threat.

Flooding:

Ohio's strategy to prepare for climate change identifies flooding as a health-related threat due to climate change but does not include specific measures to address this threat.

  1. U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S. Region: Midwest, 2009.
  2. Union of Concerned Scientists. Confronting Climate Change in the Midwest: Ohio, 2009.
  3. Natural Resources Defense Council. Heat Advisory: How Global Warming Causes More Bad Air Days, 2007.
  4. Union of Concerned Scientists. Confronting Climate Change in the Midwest: Ohio, 2009.
  5. Natural Resources Defense Council. Sneezing and Wheezing, 2007.
  6. American Lung Association. Estimated Prevalence and Incidence of Lung Disease, 2010.
  7. Natural Resources Defense Council. The Worst Summer Ever? 2010.
  8. Union of Concerned Scientists. Confronting Climate Change in the Midwest: Ohio, 2009.
  9. Union of Concerned Scientists. Confronting Climate Change in the Midwest: Ohio, 2009.
  10. Union of Concerned Scientists. Confronting Climate Change in the Midwest: Indiana, 2009.
  11. Natural Resources Defense Council. Fever Pitch, 2009.
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. West Nile virus Statistics, Surveillance, and Control Archive.
  13. Lyme Disease Association. Total Lyme Cases Reported by CDC 1990-2008. Data compiled from CDC pub data (MMWR), 2009.
  14. U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S.Region: Midwest, 2009.
  15. Natural Resources Defense Council. Climate Change, Water, and Risk, 2010.
  16. Union of Concerned Scientists. Confronting Climate Change in the Midwest: Ohio, 2009.
  17. Federal Emergency Management Agency. DHS. Declared Disasters by Year or State, 2011.
  18. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Report to Congress: Impacts and Control of CSOs and SSOs. Appendix D: List of Active CSO Permits, 2004.
  19. Natural Resources Defense Council. Tides of Trouble: Increased Threats to Human Health and Ecosystems from Harmful Algal Blooms, 2010.

Ohio's Changing Climate

  • Average temperatures, rainfall, record floods, and extreme heat are all on the rise.1
  • In the future, with climate change, average summer temperatures could rise by 12°F (7°C).2
  • Residents will experience greater health risks from increasing dangerous heat waves, storms and flooding, waterborne illnesses, infectious diseases, declining air quality, and drought.
  • Ohio does not have a statewide plan to prepare for the health impacts of climate change.

Climate Change Health Threats in Ohio

last revised 5/29/2011

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