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.

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/pubs/vector-borne-disease-final_508.pdf

https://health2016.globalchange.gov/

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/environmental-public-health-climate-change/climate-change-public-health-factsheets.html

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/geh/climatechange/health_impacts/index.cfm

 

Comments

Hello!
I couldn’t agree more on all the information that is mentioned here. I believe that health issues due to climate change are an important concern that everyone should be aware of, they should be taken very seriously. I think there are not enough people right now that are placing as much important on this issue as they should. From my point of view, it is everyone’s job to spread the awareness so that more people get educated about this subject. In my eyes, it is not only all about human health but also about our ecosystem's health. Our ecosystems are being damaged too, and the repercussions are being seen on a larger perspective than just humans. In fact, the destruction of animals, plants, and the oceans wellness are just a few example of the impact of climate change on our planet. As an example, does everyone know about the Pacific Garbage Patch? The largest garbage dump located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean that can be seen from space! I highly recommend that you have a look at this impressive issue that everyone is responsible for. Climate changes are destroying our environment, and we all should take actions to help reduce the impact of it before it’s too late. Good job on pointing out the most important consequences, this may help people realize that it’s time for change!

CM