Health Impacts of Climate Change in Minnesota

With extreme weather and temperatures on the rise, WellShare’s Community Health Worker Peer Network offered a workshop on June 15th on the health impacts of climate change in Minnesota with information provided by representatives of the Environmental Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Like the rest of the world, Minnesota has been experiencing more extreme weather, such as changes in precipitation and rising temperatures due to climate change. Milder winters, higher “overnight lows,” increased flooding and heat waves have an impact on our health as well. The biggest problems are air pollution and air quality issues, more mosquitos and ticks that can spread diseases, and physical dangers and stress caused by increased flooding and droughts.

The workshop participants learned how to look out for vulnerable people such as older adults and small children, as well as people who suffer from health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or breathing issues. At the end of the workshop, the participants shared their stories on how they or their clients have been affected by climate change and talked about their greatest concerns.

If you did not make it to the workshop this time, here are 5 ways that can help protect you and your family’s health and save some money as well:

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  1. Prepare for heat waves: Stay hydrated, stay cool and stay informed! More information here (Heat Tips sheets are available in English, Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Karen and Oromo):
  2. Prepare for poor air quality days: You can sign up for Minnesota air quality alerts here:
  3. Drive less: Whenever possible, take public transportation, ride your bike or walk instead of driving to reduce greenhouse gases (the main cause of climate change). The additional exercise will help you stay healthy as well.
  4. Lower your “Food-Print” – Eating less meat and having a diet high in local and seasonal vegetables and whole grains reduces greenhouse gases, saves money and is healthier for you and your family. You can calculate your carbon food-print here.
  5. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle – Think about how to reduce consumption. Adopting more green practices like recycling and reusing items not only reduces the amount of money you spend, but also the amount of waste you produce which will reduce your carbon footprint.

Do you have any questions concerning the health impacts of climate change? Contact Minnesota’s Climate & Health Program at

This activity is made possible by a grant from the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature.

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