The country-wide representative survey of the Climate Response project revealed that 80% of Hungarian people are worried about climate change causing health issues for them or their loved ones.
Regarding the health impacts of climate change in Hungary, the most extensively examined hazard is heatwaves. It is important to mention the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon which means that temperatures in urban areas are higher (3-12 ˚C) than the surrounding rural areas richer with more green surfaces. The UHI occurs because the heat gets stored in surfaces of concrete, asphalt and stone instead of the air getting cooled on vegetated surfaces, which is combined with the effects of crowdedness and traffic, further creating heat, and the lack of cooling by wind given the high rise buildings.
Extreme temperatures have significant adverse impacts on work, human performance and daily life. Health effects caused by high temperatures range from skin-pimples and tiredness through cramps and fainting to heat-stroke and premature death, all of which as a consequence of over-heating and/or drying out.
Heat waves often result in periods of stagnant air in cities, which intensifies air pollution. Concentration of ground-level ozone (a component in smog), particulate matters and other air pollutants are aggravated by high ambient temperatures. The intensified pollution directly causes respiratory diseases or exacerbate respiratory diseases in vulnerable individuals, also raising mortality rates.
Besides increased temperatures, the health effects of increased UV-radiation, existing or new vector- and rodent-borne as well as food-borne diseases and air and water pollution, natural disasters such as floods and storms, are also problems that need attention.