The Effects of Climate Change on our Health
by Wallace Lou on September 10, 2017 - 6:45pm
Kazuki Gonzalez-Adachi, Samuel Leger and Wallace Lou
Climate change, since its discovery, has been subject to a lot of research and we now understand several consequences this issue can have on human health all around the globe. To begin, there will be an increase in temperature-related deaths and illness because extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures will occur more often, and will cause many problems from heat cramps all the way up to death. The latter is especially true for the children, the elderly, the poor and the sick, who happen to be more vulnerable to the changes. The air pollution and the changing weather patterns will also become prominent problems that we will have to face as the climate change gets worse. The severity of this consequence comes from its ability to cause heart diseases such as cardiac arrests, respiratory diseases and allergies. In the case of latter, climate change causes higher temperatures which then lead to an increase in the levels of pollens and allergens that trigger asthma attacks. In addition, extreme weather events occur more often and are more destructive due to climate change. For example, these events cause direct and indirect health effects from infectious diseases to physical harm and even mental disorders. Indeed, climate change can cause a lot of depression and anxiety as well as many more mental issues due to the constant insecurity, loss and traumatic events that we face on all levels. These weather events also cause flooding of water and sewage which then increase water born diseases such as infection by Vibrio vulnificus which induces diarrhea, intestinal illness and wounding, blood-stream infections and death. Of course, this is besides the actual injuries and deaths that would occur during the flooding. Furthermore, extreme weather events can decrease agricultural productivity. In consequence, problems such as malnutrition and starvation can arise. In turn, these problems can cause developmental deficits in young children and slow immune response. The risk of getting even more infections and the increase in the time that it takes to recover from infection would then endanger human health. Another way climate change might affect human health is by increasing the risks of vector-borne diseases because the increase in temperatures creates more hospitable environments for the disease carriers such as mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Lyme disease which is incurable, for instance, would see an important increase. Another bacteria that would see growth is Salmonella, a food-related infection, because the increase in temperature, humidity and seasonal length will cause shifts in Salmonella occurrence pattern while allowing the bacteria to grow. In the end, climate change could affect human health is so many ways - some of which we probably still haven’t discovered yet.