On Capital Public Radio's Insight, Rudolph pointed out that the lack of rain can dry out soils. That could increase dust levels, and dust carries pollen.
"[This] increases allergy and asthma. And dust can also carry pathogens. Over the last decade we've seen an increase in Valley Fever, a fungal disease in the Central Valley. That can be increased when dust levels increase and the spores of this disease are carried in the dust."
~Dr. Linda Rudolph, Center for Climate Change and Health
Rudolph says the drought could also trigger other health problems such as an increase in diabetes in some poor, rural communities. She says when drinking water becomes scarce, people turn to other fluids.
"And when those other alternatives are things like soda, it just exacerbates health problems such as obesity," she says.
Rudolph says droughts can also reduce agricultural crop yields leading to significant food price increases.
"And we see the same thing when people have to pay more for food. Low income people often turn to calorie dense food that is associated with more calories, obesity and diabetes," she says.
A new study finds California’s Central Valley has three times more water beneath it than previously estimated.
UPDATE June 26: Fire managers says the Erskine Fire near Lake Isabella in Kern County has grown to 43,460 acres and is 40 percent contained. Two people have died, and more than 250 structures have been destroyed and an additional 75 damaged.
Four consecutive years of drought, millions of dead trees and summer heat, are all factors as thousands of firefighters work to control wildfires in California.
Not much change is expected in drought conditions in California during the summer "dry season" but wildfire danger is increasing, with 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada adding potential fuel.
The U.S. Forest Service says 66 million trees are dead in the Sierra Nevada after four consecutive years of drought in California and a bark beetle infestation.