climate change and health

Jonathan Patz is a climate change expert from the University of Wisconsin. His opinion on this topic highlights the importance of recognizing that climate change is about our health and changes impacts can impact our health in several ways. Some of those pathways are heat, vector-borne diseases, pollution, and more. The health risks due to climate change already damage marginalized groups like people with disabilities and low-income families, and climate change only seems to widen the gap. So it seems that climate change and health can be related.

Heat-aggravated illnesses

In 2016, a state report said they were expecting a considerable increase of premature deaths related to temperature rises during the summer in the United States. Some illnesses like heart and kidney problems can be exacerbated by extreme temperatures.

Heat is especially harmful to elders and kids, and even more for those with chronic medical conditions. Urban areas can also increase the probability of temperature rises due to the urban heat island effect. According to the EPA, air temperature in cities can be 22 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than in rural areas.

Respiratory illnesses

Warmer days increase ground-level ozone, mainly due to smog; the wildfires are more frequent, releasing dangerous particles and toxic gases into the atmosphere. Also, allergy seasons are worst every year.

According to an estimate by The World Health Organization, seven million deaths year worldwide occurred because of the air contamination. This organism also established that if we reduce burning fossil fuels, we could prevent two million premature deaths by 2050.

Vector-borne diseases

Michael A. Robert has studied dengue transmission in the U.S. in a warmer climate. According to Robert, if places are warmer, mosquitoes may live longer, and incubation time is shorter. As a result, the transmission is more likely to increase.

A 2016 study conducted by a Canadian laboratory established that warmer winters might extend the active season of sticks, which may result in an increase of tick-borne diseases. The researchers clarified that ticks are less likely to extend to other areas because they live longer and are less mobile than mosquitoes.

Food and water

Agriculture can be affected by climate change in many ways. Storms, droughts, and floods can destroy the crops. Corn is less likely to grow under high temperatures. The national department on agriculture says less milk is produced when the climate is too warm, and it is lower in protein, protein, and fat.

Rising sea levels and storms are a threat to water infrastructures. Patz’s research on Chicago’s stormwater drainage revealed that the probability of experiencing more overflows would rise from 50 to 120% by 2100.

Climatic catastrophes consequences

Hurricanes and wildfires consequences include death, injury, worsening medical conditions, and mental health.

In 2019, a study found that tropical storms increase the number of deaths by 52%. After weather catastrophes, people may develop psychological disorders like post-traumatic stress disorders, general anxiety, and depression.

Be prepared for tomorrow

All these problems can be prevented by taking action. Every step society takes for stopping global temperature from rising can save lives. Patz established that this is not a new issue; it’s one of the challenges health departments are already working on.

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