Climate Change: Extreme Heat and Health in Connecticut

Heat waves are becoming more common and extreme heat is becoming more of a health concern across the United States.  Since 1970, the average temperature in Connecticut has increased 2.8 degrees Fahrenheit.  That is significantly higher than the global average of 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century.  The number of days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Connecticut is projected to increase from an average of 5 days per year to an average of 25 days per year into mid-century.  Summers are getting hotter and winters are getting warmer.  Extreme heat stresses the body’s ability to maintain its normal temperature.  The resulting heat-related illnesses may require emergency medical treatment or hospitalization, and in severe cases, can lead to death.

Some key recommendations from the Department of Public Health are to:

Drink Plenty of Fluids(non-alcoholic/sugar-free)

Wear Light, Loose Clothing and Sunscreen

Monitor Those at High Risk(under 5 and over 65)

Do Not Leave Children in Cars

Stay Cool Indoors(utilize malls and libraries)

Yale Center on Climate Change and Health recommends that Connecticut invest in “Social factors, including housing, education, employment, income, and access to medical care, are major drivers of population health” that could all be disrupted by extreme heat.

Resources:

Climate Change and Health in Connecticut 2020 Report

Governor’s Council on Climate Change 2021 Report

Connecticut Department of Public Heath- Extreme Heat


The National Network of Libraries of Medicine recently published a blog post​ on climate change and extreme heat and how it affects health. The author, Sarah Levine-Lederer, lists links to helpful resources. Click here if you would like to explore recent items in our online catalog on climate change.