Climate & Health Overview


While climate change impacts everyone, certain populations can be more vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change. Vulnerability means the traits of a person or group and their situation can force their ability to prepare, cope with, resist, and recover from the impact of a hazard.

As climate change continues into the future, we will see New Orleanians face increasing health effects such as:

  • Increased deaths and illnesses from heat stress as temperatures rise;
  • Increased injuries and illnesses due to extreme weather events, such as storms and floods;

  • Increased respiratory illnesses like asthma and cardiovascular diseases and deaths from higher levels of smog (low level ozone);

  • Problems with allergies brought about by higher levels of pollens from more weed growth and longer pollen seasons;

  • Increased rates of infectious diseases carried by insects;
  • Threats to food and water supplies;
  • Increased damage to property and infrastructure due to flooding, storms, and sea-level rise;
  • Increased levels of mental and emotional stress in response to climate change and extreme weather-related emergencies.

What You Should Do:

  • Stay Cool: Drink lots of water and stay out of the sun. Never leave children or pets in the car unattended.
  • Be Bug Free: Keep you and your family safe from mosquitoes. Protect yourself from insect bites by wearing insect repellent and wearing long-sleeve clothing when outside. Remove standing water from around your home.
  • Breathe fresh air: Check the air quality in your area by visiting Do not go outside during poor air quality days.
  • Eat Well: Eat more fruits, vegetables, and local foods and eat less processed food and animal products. This can help you to stay fit and decrease the amount of energy used to produce and transport your food. Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke. These conditions increase the health risks from by extreme heat and storms.
  • Be Green at Home and at Work: Find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • Prepare: Visit to find information that will help you to prepare for the unexpected. Learn how to make an emergency supply kit, family emergency plan, and staying informed about the different types of emergencies and how to respond.
  • Support your Friends and Neighbors: Check on your friends and neighbors during a storm, disaster, or extreme heat event.

Populations to Watch

  • Babies and young children;
  • Older adults;
  • People with chronic health conditions;
  • People who are obese;
  • Athletes;
  • Outdoor workers;
  • People of low socio-economic status;