World health organization

10 facts on climate change and health

Germans sitting under umbrellas during the intense heat wave in Europe in 2003.
Keystone/DPA/Waltraut Grubitzsch

Intense short-term fluctuations in temperature can also seriously affect health – causing heat stress (hyperthermia) or extreme cold (hypothermia) – and lead to increased death rates from heart and respiratory diseases. Recent studies suggest that the record high temperatures in western Europe in the summer of 2003 were associated with a spike of an estimated 70 000 more deaths than the equivalent periods in previous years.

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