Is climate change affecting your health?

Warming Certainty Data show the general public is becoming increasingly aware of climate change's threats to human health.
Climate Change FILE - In this July 19, 2007 file photo an iceberg melts off Ammassalik Island in Eastern Greenland. Scientists who are fine-tuning a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even as greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. Leaked documents show there is widespread disagreement among governments over how to address the contentious issue in Sept. 23-26 stock-taking report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Sweden Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), during the presentation of the U.N. IPCC climate report, in Stockholm, Friday Sep. 27, 2013. Scientists can now say with extreme confidence that human activity is the dominant cause of the global warming observed since the 1950s, a new report by an international scientific group said Friday. Calling man-made warming "extremely likely," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used the strongest words yet on the issue as it adopted its assessment on the state of the climate system.
Sweden Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), left, and Sweden's Environmental ministers Lena Ek, right, comment on the U.N. IPCC climate report, in Stockholm, Friday Sept. 27, 2013. Scientists can now say with extreme confidence that human activity is the dominant cause of the global warming observed since the 1950s, a new report by an international scientific group said Friday. Calling man-made warming "extremely likely," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used the strongest words yet on the issue as it adopted its assessment on the state of the climate system.
A fuel refinery in foreground with Table Mountain in backdrop near the city of Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Scientists are more certain than ever that humans are causing the majority of climate change - with significant impact for the planet, a key report has shown. The first part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) fifth assessment report shows that global warming is "unequivocal" and human influence on the climate is clear.
South Africa Climate Report Children play in the foreground, near electrical poles and wires in a township, with Table Mountain in backdrop, near the city of Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Scientists are more certain than ever that humans are causing the majority of climate change - with significant impact for the planet, a key report has shown. The first part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) fifth assessment report shows that global warming is "unequivocal" and human influence on the climate is clear.
Media representatives follow the U.N. IPCC climate report presentation, in Stockholm, Friday Sept. 27, 2013. Scientists can now say with extreme confidence that human activity is the dominant cause of the global warming observed since the 1950s, a new report by an international scientific group said Friday. Calling man-made warming "extremely likely," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used the strongest words yet on the issue as it adopted its assessment on the state of the climate system.
Climate Change FILE - In this July 19, 2007 file photo, an iceberg melts off the coast of Ammasalik, Greenland. Scientists who are fine-tuning a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even as greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. Leaked documents show there is widespread disagreement among governments over how to address the contentious issue in the Sept. 23-26 stock-taking report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Climate Change FILE - In this Tuesday Aug, 16, 2005 file photo an iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland near the arctic circle. Scientists who are fine-tuning a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even as greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. Leaked documents show there is widespread disagreement among governments over how to address the contentious issue in Sept. 23-26 stock-taking report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Haiti Caribbean Water Woes In this Aug. 22, 2013 photo, vendors Jacline Bienheme, left, and Marie Jolerme wait for fishermen to return on the shores of Lake Azuei in Thomazeau, Haiti. Experts are sounding a new alarm about the effects of climate change for parts of the Caribbean: the depletion of already strained drinking water throughout much of the region.
Haiti Caribbean Woes In this Sept. 3, 2013 photo, Jacquelin Calvaire, 17, bathes using water from a fountain that taps mountain water in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Experts are sounding a new alarm about the effects of climate change for parts of the Caribbean: the depletion of already strained drinking water throughout much of the region.
Warming Certainty FILE - Smoke pours from a chimney at a cement plant in Binzhou city, in eastern China's Shandong province, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Scientists from around the world have gathered in Stockholm in September 2013 for a meeting of a U.N. panel on climate change and will probably issue a report saying it is "extremely likely" - which they define in footnotes as 95 percent certain - that humans are mostly to blame for temperatures that have climbed since 1951.
Great Lakes Levels FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2012 file photo, Jim Simons walks along a sand bar, exposed by low water levels, on the Portage Lake channel that leads to Lake Michigan at Onekama, Mich. Experts say putting man-made structures in the St. Clair River as some advocates want might not boost Great Lakes levels significantly because they might not offset the effects of a warmer, drier climate.
Haiti Caribbean Water Woes In this Aug. 22, 2013 photo, a girl pushes down the lid on her her bucket filled with water she collected from the pipe that captures mountain water in Thomazeau, Haiti. Many Caribbean nations rely exclusively on underground water for their needs, a vulnerable source that would be hit hard by climate change effects, said Jason Johnson, vice president of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association, a Trinidad-based nonprofit group.
CORRECTION Extreme Weather CORRECTS CITY TO ORTLEY BEACH, N.J. FILE - In an Oct. 31, 2012, file aerial photo, the destroyed and damaged homes are left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in Ortley Beach, N.J. Researchers with the United States and British governments concluded Thursday Sept. 5, 2013, that climate change had made these events more likely: U.S. heat waves, Superstorm Sandy flooding, shrinking Arctic sea ice, drought in Europe's Iberian peninsula, and extreme rainfall in Australia and New Zealand.
Future Sandys FILE - This Feb. 22,2013 file photo shows Two heavily damaged homes on the beach in Mantoloking, N.J., from Superstorm Sandy. Man-made global warming may decrease the likelihood of the already unusual steering currents that pushed Superstorm Sandy due west into New Jersey in a freak 1-in-700 year path, researchers report. While that may sound like the rare good climate change news, it's probably not, according to the study's authors, because they only looked at steering currents and other factors, including stronger storms, and sea level rise can and likely will outweigh any benefit from changing air patterns. The study is disputed by other scientists who have been vocal about the meteorological factors behind Sandy.
China Weather A boy cools off in a fountain at a park in Shanghai, China, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Hot weather has set in with temperatures rising up to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in Shanghai.
APTOPIX Colorado Flooding A woman walks with her two boys on a day of more heavy rains, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Longmont, Colo. The National Weather Service says up to 2 inches of rain could fall Sunday, creating a risk of more flooding and mudslides.
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WASHINGTON – Wind, heat, rain, snow and severe storms have long been blamed for interruptions to the nation’s overall infrastructure, but federal and state officials are more carefully studying changing weather patterns as a direct threat to human health.

“Climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of storms, like heat waves, and will increase the intensity of major storms, like hurricanes, and these have a broad range of impacts on health,” says Dr. George Luber, epidemiologist and associate director of the Climate and Health Program, a project established at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009.

Luber discusses three primary ways climate change affects the health of humans. These factors include an increase in heat, compromised access to care and changes in disease ecology. Each varies in severity depending on geographical location.

The CDC is not the only institution connecting changing weather patterns to more intensified health problems. Other government agencies and national organizations are delving into the subject, as well. And data show the general public is becoming increasingly aware of climate change’s impact on human health.

A recent survey from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and George Mason University found 70 percent of Maryland respondents consider air pollution — more than obesity — the primary concern when it comes to personal health.

Insect-borne diseases, violent storms and polluted drinking water also topped the list. Fifty-three percent of Maryland respondents say violent storms are becoming more common health problems in their communities, and 48 percent of survey respondents say climate change is a health problem in their communities.

“The link between climate change and public health is one that I think people are becoming increasingly aware of, and we are trying to think about ways that we, as a public health community, can and should be participating in that planning for climate change,” says Dr. Clifford Mitchell, director of the Environmental Health Bureau at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“What we’ve learned is people not only look at the link between extreme weather events and health

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