Cluster Human Health

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Human Health
Source: deberarr /

2019 Monitoring Report on the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change

Table of Contents


Human Health

The human organism is constantly dealing with climatic conditions in its environment and reacts to these stimuli with its own adaptation responses. In particular, extreme weather situations can affect the health, efficiency and wellbeing of humans.

Even nowadays climate change has multiple direct and indirect effects on health. Weather and climate changes can lead to increases in infectious diseases and non-communicable illnesses such as allergies; they can also lead to an intensification of symptoms related to cardio-vascular and respiratory complaints. Extreme events such as storms, floodwater, avalanches or landslides pose unmediated risks to life and limb. Moreover, they can lead to social and psychological pressures as well as disorders such as stress, anxiety attacks and depression. It is worth remembering that climate change goes hand in hand with demographic and societal changes. Increased life expectancy increases the risk of chronic diseases. It can cause people to live solitary lives and develop feelings of loneliness. In view of such uncertainties, it seems appropriate at this stage, to give priority to considering the changing risks to human health which result from climate change.

Preventive health care plays a central role in adaptation efforts. Well founded and truly accessible information helps to motivate citizens to lower their personal health risks by adapting their behaviour. At the same time, active medical and care support are required for particularly vulnerable population groups in respect of health hazards such as heatwaves.


Effects of climate change

Heat exposure raises health risks (GE-I-1)

Heatwaves cause additional mortalities (GE-I-2)

Allergenic plants gaining ground (GE-I-3)

Exotic mosquitoes bear new health risks (GE-I-4)

Cyanobacteria – impairment of recreational bathing waters (GE-I-5)



Early heat warning – prerequisite for effective prevention (GE-R-1 und GE-R-2)

People with pollen allergies need information (GE-R-3)

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