Climate change dramatically impacts the air we breathe
Increased Air Pollution
Climate change will increase air pollution as we see more frequent episodes of heat, droughts, and wildfires. It will result in warmer weather, which will worsen intensify drought, dust and wildfires. Increased temperatures will lead to greater formation of ground-level ozone, or smog, which can impact our respiratory health. Climate change also leads to shorter, warmer winters. As a result, wildfire seasons are longer, more frequent and affect larger areas. Wildfire smoke is dirty, consisting of tiny particle pollution that burrows into the lungs. This leads to asthma exacerbation and respiratory distress. Wildfires may impact you even if you are not in a directly impacted area; wildfire smoke can travel thousands of miles. Even if you don't live in a wildfire-impacted area, you may still be breathing dirtier air.
Extreme Weather Events
Climate change will create more extreme weather events beyond wildfires, such as hurricanes, landslides, and flooding. This will lead to the loss of homes and communities and will create challenges for those with lung disease, including making it difficult to access medical care and medications. Flooding can lead to mold, sewage and toxic chemicals, which impacts what we breathe and thus our respiratory health.
Warmer weather from climate change contributes to earlier springs, and thus longer pollen seasons. This will negatively impact people who suffer from allergies and can also trigger asthma attacks.
Learn how to lower your risks with this factsheet from the American Lung Association: