Climate and Health Outlook (2022)

Table of Contents
U.S. Seasonal Forecast for Health: September 2022 Wildfire Outlook for September, 2022 Wildfires Affect Health in Many Ways Who is at high risk in the counties with above-normal wildland fire potential in September? Real-Time Tracking of Respiratory Outcomes Linked to Wildfire Smoke How does smoke impact firefighter health? Wildfire Smoke Can Travel Far Distances Resources to Reduce Health Risks Associated with Wildfire Drought Outlook for September, 2022 Drought Affects Health in Many Ways Drought and Arsenic in Domestic Wells Resources to Reduce Health Risks Associated with Drought The Distribution of Lyme Disease How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tickborne Diseases Updated Outlook for the 2022 Hurricane season Hurricanes Affect Health in Many Ways Health Impacts From Hurricane Harvey (2017) Which parts of the country are at high risk from hurricanes? Who is at high risk from hurricanes in the counties estimated to have “extremely high,” “relatively high,” or “relatively moderate” hurricane risk? Resources to Reduce Health Risks Associated with Hurricanes Where are extremely hot days expected to be most frequent in September? Who is at high risk from heat in the counties with the most extreme heat days? How hot will it be, and where, over the next 3 months? Is heat related illness worse in 2022 compared to last three years? Health Impacts During the Heat Dome of 2021 Heat Affects Health in Many Ways Spotlight on Health Equity: Health Impacts in Rural Areas Resources for People at High Risk of Heat-Related Health Problems Climate and Health Outlook | August 2022 Climate and Health Outlook | July 2022 Climate and Health Outlook: Extreme Heat | June 2022 Climate and Health Outlook: Extreme Heat | May 2022 Videos

U.S. Seasonal Forecast for Health: September 2022

Regional health forecasts for heat, wildfire, drought, and hurricanes

Alaska: Normal wildland fire* potential is expected for Alaska through the rest of the 2022 wildfire season, after a very busy June and first half of July.

Northwest: One county in Idaho is projected to have more than 5 heat exceedance days in September 2022. Drought is favored to persist in parts of southern Idaho, southern and central Oregon, and central Washington. Above normal wildland fire* potential is projected for much of Idaho, southern and central Oregon, and central and southern Washington.

Southwest: Counties in California (10), Arizona (5), and Utah (2) , are projected to have more than 5 heat exceedance days in September 2022. Drought is favored to persist in California, Nevada, and Utah as well as parts of Arizona Colorado, and New Mexico. However, drought removal is favored in southern and central Arizona and much of New Mexico. Above normal wildland fire* potential is projected for northern California and north-western Nevada.

Hawai’i and Pacific Islands: The Central Pacific is projected to have a below-average hurricane season. Drought is favored to persist or develop in Hawai’i. Above normal wildland fire* potential is projected for Hawai’i.

Northern Great Plains: Drought is favored to persist or develop in Nebraska as well as parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Above normal wildland fire* potential is projected for western Montana.

Southern Great Plains: Counties in Texas (2) are projected to have more than 5 heat exceedance days in September 2022. Drought is favored to persist in Kansas, much of Oklahoma and northern Texas. However, drought removal and improvement is favored in most of Texas and eastern Oklahoma. Above normal wildland fire* potential is projected for much of Oklahoma.

Midwest: Drought is favored to persist or develop in parts of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Southeast: The Atlantic basin is forecasted to have an above-average hurricane season with 14 – 20 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, with 6 –10 of those possibly becoming hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, and 3 – 5 possibly becoming major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. One county in Florida is projected to have more than 5 heat exceedance days in September 2022. Drought is favored to develop in parts of North Carolina and South Carolina. However, drought removal/improvement is favored in parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Northeast: Drought is favored to persist in parts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Drought is favored to develop in parts of Delaware. Above normal wildland fire* potential is projected for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as eastern New York and the northern tips of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Caribbean: The Atlantic basin is forecasted to have an above-average hurricane season with 14 – 20 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, with 6 –10 of those possibly becoming hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, and 3 – 5 possibly becoming major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. Drought removal is favored in parts of Puerto Rico.

*Smoke from wildfires can impact health hundreds of miles from site of the fire.

A "heat exceedance day” is when the daily maximum temperature is above the 95th percentile value of the historical temperature distribution in that county.

For additional information please visit:

Wildfire Outlook for September, 2022

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Climate and Health Outlook (1)

Figure:The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook identifies areas with above, below, and near normal significant fire potential using the most recent weather, climate, and fuels data available. These outlooks are designed to inform decision makers for proactive wildland fire management.

Year-to-date acres burned for the US is approximately 116% of the 10-year average, with over half of the total acres burned in Alaska alone. Above normal significant fire potential is forecast for much of the Northeast September through November due to the ongoing drought. Above normal potential is also forecast for much of Oklahoma in September and October, expanding to include all of Oklahoma and Texas by December. Most of northern California, central and southwest Oregon, southeast Washington, Idaho, and far western Montana will have above normal potential in September. Lee sides of the Hawai’ian Islands will continue to have above normal potential through November before returning to normal potential in December.

Wildfires Affect Health in Many Ways

Wildland fire increases the risk for a diverse range of health outcomes from both the fire itself and smoke. For example :

  • Due to the nature of their work, firefighters are at risk of developing severe heat-related illness (such as heat stroke) and rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown).
  • Wildfire can cause burns through contact with flamesand hot surfaces as well as chemical and electrical burns.
  • Wildfire smoke can lead to disorders including reduced lung function, bronchitis, exacerbation of asthma, and cardiovascular effects like heart failure.
  • For pregnant people, smoke exposure may increase the risk of reduced birth weight and preterm birth.
  • Wildfire smoke may affect the immune system, potentially leading to increased vulnerability to lung infections like COVID-19.
  • Smoke and ash from wildfires can travel downwind and affect air quality hundreds of miles away from the fire.

Who is at high risk in the counties with above-normal wildland fire potential in September?

Wildland fires are occurring more frequently in the United States and present a health hazard for populations living close to a fire or whose air quality is affected by smoke. For those in the impacted area, wildfires can cause or exacerbate illnesses and injuries, cause property damage and hurt the local economy, and impose financial, physical, and emotional costs associated with evacuation or sheltering in place.

In September, 312 counties across 17 states are projected to have above-normal wildfire potential. In these counties, the total population at risk is 54,742,313 people. Of these counties:

  • 68 (22%) have a high number of people aged 65 or over, living alone.
  • 81 (26%) have a high number of people without health insurance
  • 84 (27%) have a high number of uninsured children.
  • 60 (19%) have a high number of people with frequent mental distress.
  • 103 (34%) have a high number of adults with asthma.
  • 61 (20%) have a high number of adults with coronary heart disease.
  • 48 (16%) have a high number of people living in poverty.
  • 114 (37%) have a high number of people with electricity-dependent medical equipment and enrolled in the HHS emPOWER program.
  • 42 (14%) have a high number of people in mobile homes.
  • 77 (25%) have a high number of people with one or more disabilities.
  • 70 (23%) are identified as highly vulnerable by CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.

*“A high number” indicates that these counties are in the top quartile for this indicator compared to other counties

Real-Time Tracking of Respiratory Outcomes Linked to Wildfire Smoke

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Climate and Health Outlook (2)

Figure. This graph overlays the percentage of Emergency Department (ED) visits due to asthma or reactive airway disease (RAD) in San Mateo County during the 2018 Camp Fire. It uses Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report weeks, which begin with 1 for the first week of the year. Each red dot indicates an instance where the percent of ED visits due to asthma or RAD is exceptionally high. You can learn more on the CDC’s website.

As wildfires continue to threaten the public’s health across the country, agencies are demonstrating the utility, reliability, and timeliness of syndromic surveillance data for monitoring and characterizing health impacts. During the first two weeks of the 2018 Camp Fire in California, there were higher-than-expected increases in 24-hour particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in San Mateo County, which reached unhealthy levels. San Mateo County public health officials monitored for acute respiratory health effects and, in collaboration with the CDC National Syndromic Surveillance Program and the California Department of Public Health, they demonstrated an increase in the weekly percentage of ED visits for asthma or reactive airway disease (RAD) exacerbation, and an increase in the number of visits for smoke exposure or smoke inhalation. Among participating EDs, the county’s safety net hospital had the highest average daily percentage of ED visits for all respiratory syndromes, excluding influenza-like illness and pneumonia.

How does smoke impact firefighter health?

(Video) In-Depth Look - Warner's Climate And Health-Care Outlook - Bloomberg

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Climate and Health Outlook (3)

Source: Kathleen M. Navarro, Michael T. Kleinman, Chris E. Mackay, Timothy E. Reinhardt, John R. Balmes, George A. Broyles, Roger D. Ottmar, Luke P. Naher, Joseph W. Domitrovich, Wildland firefighter smoke exposure and risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality, Environmental Research, Volume 173, 2019, Pages 462-468, ISSN 0013-9351, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.03.060.

One study funded by the Joint Fire Science Program found that wildland firefighters are at an increased risk for the development of lung cancer (8 percent to 43 percent above the general population) and cardiovascular disease (16 percent to 30 percent above the general population). This risk increases with an increase in career duration and days spent on wildfire incidents (short and long season) each year. The risk of lung cancer steadily rose as career length, while the risk of cardiovascular disease increased sharply for firefighters with 5- to 15-year careers and increased slightly over 20- and 25-year careers. As fire seasons continue to increase in severity and duration, firefighters should reduce exposure to smoke in any way possible.

Wildfire Smoke Can Travel Far Distances

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Climate and Health Outlook (4)

Figure: Example of the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map run by U.S. EPA and the U.S. Forest Service. This screenshot, from September 15, 2020, shows the far distances smoke can travel from the location of wildfires. The map also shows the U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI) from hundreds of air quality monitors and more than 10,000 privately owned air sensors. Green symbols indicate a good AQI; yellow indicates moderate; orange indicates unhealthy for sensitive groups; red indicates unhealthy for everyone; and purple indicates very unhealthy.The flame symbols indicate a large fire incident, and the small yellow spark symbols indicate unverified satellite fire detections.

Wildfire smoke can impact the health of people close to the fire and at distances far from fire impacted areas, depending on meteorological conditions, such as wind speed and direction. As wildfires burn, they generate smoke that is comprised of a mixture of particulate matter (PM) (also referred to as particle pollution) and gaseous pollutants (e.g., carbon monoxide). The pollutant of most concern to public health during a smoke event is fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, because these particles can penetrate deep into your lungs and cause adverse health effects.

Resources to Reduce Health Risks Associated with Wildfire

Exposure to air pollutants in wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, alter immune function, and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19.

Drought Outlook for September, 2022

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Climate and Health Outlook (5)

Figure: The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's Monthly Drought Outlook is issued at the end of each calendar month and is valid for the upcoming month. The outlook predicts whether drought will persist, develop, improve, or be removed over the next 30 days or so. For more information, please refer to drought.gov.

For September, drought expansion is favored for portions of the Plains and western Corn Belt. However, above-average rainfall in the southwest is favored, raising the potential for further drought reduction across the southern Four Corners region from the Monsoon. Forecasted heavy rain across Texas and the Gulf Coast states favors further drought improvements and a potential for flooding. Drought persistence remains favored across the Northeast and drought conditions are favored to continue expanding across Hawai’i. Drought conditions are favored to improve across Puerto Rico.

Drought Affects Health in Many Ways

Drought increases the risk for a diverse range of health outcomes. For example:

Low crop yields can result in rising food prices and shortages, potentially leading to malnutrition.

Dry soil can increase the number of particulates like dust and pollen that are suspended in the air, which can irritate the bronchial passages and lungs.

Dust storms can spread the fungus that causes coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever).

If there isn’t enough water to flow, waterways may become stagnant breeding grounds for disease vectors like mosquitos as well as viruses and bacteria.

Drought's complex economic consequences can increase mood disorders, domestic violence, and suicide.

Long-term droughts can cause poor-quality drinking water and leave inadequate water for hygiene and sanitation.

Drought and Arsenic in Domestic Wells

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Climate and Health Outlook (6)

Figure: Map showing the probability of having arsenic >10 μg/L (“high arsenic”) in domestic wells during drought. Arsenic occurs in groundwater due to chemical reactions between the rocks and water, lowering of water levels due to drought may cause chemical changes that release more arsenic from the rocks. Less water could also concentrate existing arsenic in the water. Hotspots generally reflect areas in the U.S. with high observed concentrations including New England (predominantly Maine and New Hampshire), a band in the upper Midwest, the southwest (most notably Nevada, southern Arizona, southern and central California, and isolated regions in all western states), and southern Texas.

Drought conditions can lead to elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic in the water we drink. The risk of contamination increases the longer that a drought persists. In a study done by U.S. Geological Survey and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2021, researchers estimated that over 9% (4.1 million) of the 44.1 million people in the lower 48 states who use private domestic wells were potentially exposed to unsafe levels of arsenic during drought conditions compared to about 6% (2.7 million people) during non-drought conditions. Chronic exposure to arsenic from drinking water is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancers, developmental issues, cardiovascular disease, adverse birth outcomes and impacts on the immune and endocrine systems.

Resources to Reduce Health Risks Associated with Drought

Drought poses many and far-reaching health implications. Some drought-related health effects occur in the short-term and can be directly observed and measured. But the slow rise or chronic nature of drought also can result in longer term, indirect health implications that are not always easy to anticipate or monitor.

(Video) CLIMATE AND HEALTH OUTLOOK WITH DR. IMARA JOYCE NCHOM FOR AUGUST, 2022

The Distribution of Lyme Disease

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Climate and Health Outlook (7)

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Climate and Health Outlook (8)

Figure: Lyme disease occurs primarily in the upper midwestern, mid-Atlantic, and northeastern United States. It is transmitted by blacklegged or “deer” ticks, which also transmit the agents of anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus disease. The lack of dots in Massachusetts in 2018 is due to a difference in reporting standards, not an absence of Lyme disease.

An estimated 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year. It is the most common vector-borne disease in North America. The incidence of Lyme disease in the United States has nearly doubled since 1991, from 3.74 reported cases per 100,000 people to 7.21 reported cases per 100,000 people in 2018. Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire have experienced the largest increases in reported case rates. Climate is one of several factors that define when and where Lyme and other tickborne diseases are most likely to occur. Mild winters and warmer early spring temperatures are expanding the seasons when ticks are active, resulting in more weeks of the year that Americans are at risk of tick encounters. Expansion of the range of infected ticks puts an increasing number of communities at risk for Lyme and other tickborne diseases.

How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tickborne Diseases

Tick bite prevention can take place before and after spending time outside. Before you go outdoors, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin, and talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your dog. If possible, when spending time outside, avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter where ticks may live. After spending time outdoors, check your body for ticks, take a shower within 2 hours, and check your clothing, gear, and pets for ticks that may have caught a ride into your home. You may also consider using landscaping methods to prevent ticks in the yard.

Updated Outlook for the 2022 Hurricane season

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Climate and Health Outlook (9)

In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center slightly decreased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60% (lowered from the outlook issued in May, which predicted a 65% chance). NOAA’s outlook calls for 14-20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 6-10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater). Of those, 3-5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). So far, the season has seen three named storms and no hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. In past years including 2021, July lulls have sometimes been followed by very active periods in August and September. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. The Central Pacific, which includes Hawaii, is forecasted to have a below normal season. On average, the Central Pacific experiences about 1.5 hurricanes per year.

Hurricanes Affect Health in Many Ways

Hurricanes increase the risk for a diverse range of health outcomes. For example:

  • Flood water poses drowning risks for everyone, including those driving in flood waters. Storm surge historically is the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States.
  • Winds can blow debris—like pieces of broken glass and other objects—at high speeds. Flying debris is the most common cause of injury during a hurricane.
  • Open wounds and rashes exposed to flood waters can become infected.
  • Using generators improperly can cause carbon monoxide [CO] exposure, which can lead to loss of consciousness and death. Over 400 people die each year from accidental CO poisoning.
  • Post-flooding mold presents risks for people with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions.
  • Power failure during or after hurricanes can harm patients who critically depend on electricity-dependent medical equipment.

Health Impacts From Hurricane Harvey (2017)

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Climate and Health Outlook (10)

This graph shows the observed changes in the population rates of treat-and-release emergency department (ED) visits following Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Information on ED utilization is based on data from the AHRQ HCUP State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD). Using information from NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counties that were in the direct path of the hurricane were identified. For these counties, the percent change in the population rate of treat-and-release ED visits during and post-hurricane were compared to the pre-hurricane average utilization rates. Over a 7-week period after the hurricane, the largest increase in population rates of treat-and-release ED visits were observed for respiratory conditions, with relatively smaller increase for infections, injuries and all conditions.

Which parts of the country are at high risk from hurricanes?

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Climate and Health Outlook (11)

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Figure: This map of the United States is colored by the relative Risk Index rating for the Hurricane hazard. The characterization of risk across these counties are based on historical records on hurricane paths and intensity.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides information on the risk of different climate hazards across the 50 states and Washington DC through the National Risk Index (NRI) platform. The Risk Index leverages available data for natural hazard and community risk factors to develop a baseline relative risk measurement for each United States county and census tract. 291 counties across 16 states are estimated to have “extremely high,” “relatively high,” or “relatively moderate” hurricane risk. In these counties, the total population at risk is 60,095,904 people.

Who is at high risk from hurricanes in the counties estimated to have “extremely high,” “relatively high,” or “relatively moderate” hurricane risk?

Risk factors vary across the 291 counties identified to have “extremely high,” “relatively high,” and “moderately high” hurricane risk. Of these counties:

49 (17%) have a high number of people aged 65 or over, living alone.

153 (53%) have a high number of people without health insurance.

70 (24%) have a high number of uninsured children.

35 (12%) have a high number of people living in rural areas.

235 (81%) have a high number of Black or African American persons.

118 (41%) have a high number of people with frequent mental distress.

154 (53%) have a high number of people living in poverty.

57 (20%) have a high number of people spending a large proportion of their income on home energy.

157 (54%) have a high number of people with severe housing cost burden.

119 (40%) have a high number of people with electricity-dependent medical equipment and enrolled in the HHS emPOWER program.

150 (52%) have a high number of people in mobile homes.

89 (31%) have a high number of people with one or more disabilities.

178 (61%) are identified as highly vulnerable by CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.

*“A high number” indicates that these counties are in the top quartile for this indicator compared to other counties

Resources to Reduce Health Risks Associated with Hurricanes

Health risks from hurricanes include drowning due to flood water, injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning after a power outage, infection during evacuation or shelter-in-place, post-storm exposure to mold, and psychological distress.

Where are extremely hot days expected to be most frequent in September?

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Climate and Health Outlook (12)

This map shows the expected number of extremely hot days in September in each county in the contiguous U.S. The forecast is based on the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s probabilistic outlook of temperatures being above, below, or near normal in September. A county’s ‘normal’ temperature is based on the 30-year average from 1991–2020. An ‘extremely hot day’ is when the daily maximum temperature is above the 95th percentile value of the historical temperature distribution in that county. For more information on your county, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Heat and Health Tracker.

Who is at high risk from heat in the counties with the most extreme heat days?

Some communities face greater health risks from extreme heat given various risk factors they face. These communities include people who: are elderly and live alone, have existing health conditions, have poor access to healthcare, live in rural areas, work outdoors, make a low income, face difficulty paying utility bills, live in poor housing, and live in urban areas without adequate tree cover. These risk factors vary across the 21 counties estimated to have more than 5 expected extreme hot days in September. Of these counties:

  • 5 (24%) have a high number of people aged 65 or over, living alone.
  • 3 (14%) have a high number of people without health insurance.
  • 7 (33%) have a high number of uninsured children.
  • 1 (5%) have a high number of people living in rural areas.
  • 2 (10%) have a high number of people with frequent mental distress.
  • 2 (10%) have a higher number of people with diabetes.
  • 6 (30%) have a high number of people employed in construction.
  • 5 (24%) have a high number of people living in poverty.
  • 3 (14%) have a high number of people spending a large proportion of their income on home energy.
  • 12 (57%) have a high number of people with severe housing cost burden.
  • 12 (57%) have a high number of people with electricity-dependent medical equipment and enrolled in the HHS emPOWER program.
  • 8 (38%) have a high number of people in mobile homes.
  • 12 (57%) have a high number of people living in areas without adequate tree cover.
  • 12 (57%) are identified as highly vulnerable by CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.

*“A high number” indicates that these counties are in the top quartile for this indicator compared to other counties

How hot will it be, and where, over the next 3 months?

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Climate and Health Outlook (13)

Image source: https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/NMME/current/images/NMME_ensemble_tmp2m_us_season1.png

Figure: The North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) predicts that average temperature over the next 3 months (September – November) will be 1.8–3.6°F (1–2°C) hotter than average across parts of the contiguous U.S. For more information about this model or prediction, please refer to the NMME website.

For September – November, the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) predicts that the average temperature will be 1.8 to 3.6°F (1 to 2°C) above-normal for most of the continental United States. However, parts of the southeast, southwest, and northwest regions may experience a 90-day average that is 0.9 to 1.8 °F (0.5 - 1 °C) above the normal average temperature for this time period. The NMME integrates multiple forecasts of the next 90 days to build the best estimate of temperatures and precipitation over that time frame. Note that although many regions may expect a warmer 90-day average temperature, this is not the same as your local weather forecast, in which large fluctuations in temperature may be predicted from day to day.

(Video) CLIMATE AND HEALTH OUTLOOK WITH DR. IMARA JOYCE NCHOM FOR JULY, 2022

Is heat related illness worse in 2022 compared to last three years?

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Climate and Health Outlook (14)

The graphic above compares the rate of heat related illness (HRI) per 100,000 emergency department (ED) visits from May to June in 2022 with the rate observed in 2019-2021 for the same months. The CDC National Syndromic Surveillance Program provides daily rates of HRI by HHS regions. The average rate of HRI was calculated by HHS regions for May 1–June 30 for 2022 and 2019-2021 separately. 6 out of the 10 HHS regions show higher HRI rates in May-June for 2022 compared to the average rate in 2019-2021. HRI rates have been particularly high in regions 4, 5, 6 and 7 in 2022, the same places that experienced the heatwave in the middle of June.

Health Impacts During the Heat Dome of 2021

During June–July 2021, the western U.S. experienced a record-breaking heat wave that lasted for several days. Estimated heat-related deaths and illnesses demonstrate the tragic toll of the heat wave on public health. Comparing the health records from June 26–July 10 between 2021 and 2020, heat-related deaths increased from 2 to 145 in Washington, 0 to 119 in Oregon, and 12 to 25 in California. These estimates were provided by the California Department of Public Health, Oregon Health Authority, and Washington State Department of Health. For context, the CDC estimates an average of 702 heat-related deaths per year for the entire U.S. (based on 2004–2018 data).

Heat Affects Health in Many Ways

Warmer temperatures increase the risk for a diverse range of health risks. For example:

  • An increased risk of hospitalization for heart disease.
  • Heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke if not treated, can cause critical illness, brain injury,
    and even death.
  • Worsening asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as heat increases the production of ground-level ozone.
  • Dehydration, which can lead to kidney injury and blood pressure problems. Some kidney damage can become irreversible with repeated or untreated injury.
  • Violence, crime, and suicide may increase with temperature, adding to the rates of depression and anxiety already associated with climate change
  • Some medications increase the risk of heat-related illness. These include diuretic medicines (sometimes called “water pills”), antihistamine medicines (including many allergy medicines), and many antipsychotic medicines used to treat a variety of psychiatric and neurologic illnesses. Please review this list of common psychiatric medications that can impair the body’s normal ability to cool itself.

Spotlight on Health Equity: Health Impacts in Rural Areas

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Climate and Health Outlook (15)

In April 2022, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) 2016–2019 to estimate county-level population rates of emergency department (ED) visits with a diagnosis directly indicating heat exposure. The analysis was limited to records of ED visits, regardless of hospital admission, at community hospitals, excluding rehabilitation and long-term acute care facilities, with any-listed diagnosis directly indicating heat exposure. This analysis includes ED data from 2,550 counties in 39 States and the District of Columbia, representing 85 percent of the population and 81 percent of all counties in the United States in 2019. Among the 1,122 rural counties, 152 (13.5%) had heat-related ED visit population rates of 85 or more per 100,000 population (i.e., 90th percentile of population rates). In contrast, among the 344 large metropolitan counties, 8 (2.3%) had heat-related ED visit population rates in the 90th percentile. The report highlights that a larger proportion of rural than large metropolitan counties experience a high rate of heat-related illness, although there are more heat-related ED visits in large metropolitan areas (n=135,585 ED visits) than in rural areas (n=30,115 ED visits).

Resources for People at High Risk of Heat-Related Health Problems

Certain populations with limited resources may have restricted access to information on heat illness prevention, cool indoor environments, and government programs that provide critical support. Find more resources on heat illness prevention from Heat.govand CDC websites.

Thank you to the partners who provide invaluable information, expertise, and data for the Climate and Health Outlook series, including the Administration for Children and Families; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health; Department of Agriculture; Environmental Protection Agency; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Climate Prediction Center, National Centers for Environmental Information, National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center, National Integrated Drought Information System, and National Integrated Heat Health Information System; National Interagency Fire Center; Bureau of Land Management; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; United States Geological Survey; the California Air Resources Board; and the San Mateo County Health Department.

Climate and Health Outlook | August 2022

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Climate and Health Outlook from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE). The Climate and Health Outlook is an effort to inform health professionals and the public on how our health may be affected in the coming month(s) by climate events and provide resources to take proactive action. This edition explores the climate-related health hazards of wildfire, drought, extreme heat, and hurricanes. This webpage includes additional resources and information excluded from the PDF summary.

Download the Climate and Health Outlook for August 2022*

Climate and Health Outlook | July 2022

Welcome to the third edition of the Climate and Health Outlook from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE). The Climate and Health Outlook is an effort to inform health professionals and the public on how our health may be affected in the coming month(s) by climate events and provide resources to take proactive action. This edition expands beyond extreme heat to include additional climate-related health hazards.

Download the Climate and Health Outlook for July 2022

Climate and Health Outlook: Extreme Heat | June 2022

This edition focuses on the months of June-August, 2022 and uses the most current long-term temperature forecasts that come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to illustrate how extreme heat poses a health risk for all Americans.

Download the Climate and Health Outlook for June 2022

Climate and Health Outlook: Extreme Heat | May 2022

As our climate changes, extreme heat events will become more frequent, longer lasting, and more severe. Using temperature projections from NOAA and other partners, this outlook draws attention to the parts of the country and populations at higher health risk from extreme heat exposure. It also provides actionable information and resources from the Department of Health and Human Services for individuals, healthcare professionals, and public health officials to take proactive action that can reduce risk.

Download the Climate and Health Outlook for May 2022*

(Video) Climate Summary and Outlook

* This content is in the process of Section 508 review. If you need immediate assistance accessing this content, please submit a request toOCCHE@HHS.gov. Content will be updated pending the outcome of the Section 508 review.

Videos

1. Climate Policy Outlook for MENA: 2022 and Beyond
(Middle East Institute)
2. Climate and Water Outlook, issued 27 January 2022
(Bureau of Meteorology)
3. Climate and Water Outlook, issued 16 June 2022
(Bureau of Meteorology)
4. The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: 2020 report
(The Lancet)
5. Europe’s climate in 2050
(CNRS)
6. The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: 2019 report
(The Lancet)

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Job: Manufacturing Director

Hobby: Running, Mountaineering, Inline skating, Writing, Baton twirling, Computer programming, Stone skipping

Introduction: My name is Wyatt Volkman LLD, I am a handsome, rich, comfortable, lively, zealous, graceful, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.