Climate Change and Human Health

Sorry for the late post, but life has been catching up really quickly. Reference: CDC

Climate change affects not only our water resources, our economy, and our food; it also impacts our health. A warm climate is bound to increase the risk of illnesses and death from extreme heat and poor air quality. As I talked before of the impact of climate change on increasing the frequency of extreme events, it will threaten the health and safety.

  • Air Pollution

Climate change will increase Ground-level ozone (a key component of smog) and is associated with many health problems, such as diminished lung function, increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for asthma, and increases in premature deaths

  • Allergens

As it causes a change in breeding seasons of birds, climate change can contribute to shifts in flowering time and pollen initiation from allergenic plant species, leading to the increase in asthma attacks. Extreme rainfall and rising temperatures can also contribute to indoor air quality problems, including the growth of indoor fungi and molds, with increases in respiratory and asthma-related conditions

  • Wildfires

High temperatures and increase in no precipitation periods will cause an increase in the strength and spread of wildfires. Smoke exposure from these would increase respiratory and cardiovascular hospitalizations; emergency department visits; medication dispensations for asthma, bronchitis, chest pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory infections; and medical visits for lung illnesses.

  • Temperature Extremes

Heat waves are also associated with increased hospital admissions for cardiovascular, kidney, and respiratory disorders.

  • Diseases Carried by Vectors

Climate change is one of the factors that influence the distribution of diseases borne by vectors (such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, which spread pathogens that cause illness). The geographic and seasonal distribution of vector populations, and the diseases they carry depends not only on climate but also on land use, socioeconomic and cultural factors, pest control, access to health care, and human responses to disease risk, among other factors.

Climate change is expected to threaten food production and certain aspects of food quality, as well as food prices and distribution systems. Many crop yields are predicted to decline because of the combined effects of changes in rainfall, severe weather events, and increasing competition from weeds and pests on crop plants.

  • Mental Health and Stress-Related Disorders

Mental illness is one of the major causes of suffering in the United States, and extreme weather events can affect mental health in several ways. Following disasters, mental health problems increase, both among people with no history of mental illness, and those at risk – a phenomenon known as “common reactions to abnormal events.” Other health consequences of intensely stressful exposures are also a concern, including pre-term birth, low birth weight, and maternal complications

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