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How Climate Change Impacts Your Health

Introduction

Climate Change is described as drastic weather changes and patterns either globally or regionally. It is caused by human activity and linked to greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases trap heat from the sun’s rays. Small changes in greenhouse gases can cause changes in weather globally (Pappas, pars. 1-2). Climate change overtime has caused health risks. Sometimes it does depend on other factors like age, location, and changes in natural resources. This means that now the survival of humans is not only bound by natural causes, such as genetics, a weak immune system, and physical or biological deficiencies, but also the quality of the human environment. Humans don’t realize that preserving and protecting the environment also contributes to our health. The environment is a counterpart of what makes up our health. I will discuss how being careless about protecting the environment from climate change can increase risks that ruin human health.

Statistical Information and Negative Outcomes

Let’s begin with the air we breathe. Extreme weather effects such as floods and coastal storms toxicate the air. According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), as air quality worsens due to the extreme weather events, there has been a 5% increase in hospital visits from patients suffering from asthma due to Southern California wildfires in 2003. There is also an increase of 3,600 emergency room visits in New York City due to asthmas. Increased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions cause an increase in allergens, which increases the development of cardiovascular illnesses, respiratory illnesses, and increased allergy related illnesses (“How Climate Change Affects Your Health”). See infographic from APHA titled How Climate Change Affects Your Health for other information on diseases and health risks

https://www.apha.org/news-and-media/multimedia/infographics/how-climate-change-affects-your-health

According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), public health in the U.S. can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems. The health effects of those disruptions include respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, injuries and premature deaths linked to extreme weather events, and geographical distribution of food-and-water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health” (“Climate Effects on Health”).

 

https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm

 

Now, let’s look at how abnormal weather periods from extreme weather effects causes other health risk factors that diminish our health. For example, extreme heat due to longer summer months, which we have been experiencing in recent years, causes instant health risks and fatalities, such as stroke or dehydration. People who are vulnerable to this effect include those who work outdoors, and those who don’t have access to air conditioning. As regional climates continue to shift, insects like mosquitos, ticks, and flees will cause many diseases to spread. For example, mosquitos that carry the West Nile Virus, survive in warm and moist conditions that are commonly found in the U.S., especially in the southern borders. Researchers from the Journal of Technology show some states that have an increased percentage of bugs and critters, such as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida (Brodwin, pars. 6-7).

Image Created By: Melissa Camacho, New York City College of Technology

Are you ready to check off that additional ‘to-do’ item on your ‘Daily Health To Do List’? You can start getting on track by considering some alternatives to lessen the causes of climate change in order to further prevent health risks. There are many sources you can look into and learn what you can do to adapt to certain strategies depending on your needs as well. According to DavidSuzuki.org, some strategies that can help to prevent climate change is by: using energy wisely, such as unplugging electrical appliances when you are not using them; finding other ways to keep your home cool during hot weather besides relying on the AC all the time; buying electrical appliances with the ‘Energy Star’ label on them; consuming less meat as animal agriculture causes greenhouse gas emissions; and save energy by transitioning to renewable energy, which has many resources available on low costs and the benefits renewable energy can provide to your home (Suzuki, 1). It’s not only about doing, it’s also amount maintaining the quality of the environment.

Conclusion

Last, but not least, promote awareness by passing on this lesson of how climate change leads and has led to an increase of health barriers. You can connect with people you know and who are interested. Now-a-days websites and social media platforms allow your voice to be heard and connect your experiences and knowledge with others. In other words, you can have your climate change network alongside your list of friends. By taking care of the environment, we not only protect our health but take everyone’s health into consideration—that includes family, friends, and other loved ones. Always remember, keeping the environment in good shape from all regions and all sorts of living conditions, will increase your chances of better health and be embraced in a longer and healthier environment–as it plays a role for humans to survive on planet Earth.

 

References

 

Brodwin, Erin. “How climate change affects your health based on the state you live in.” Business Insider, Insider, Inc., 21 Jun 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/how-climate-change-affects-your-state-2017-6

“How Climate Change Affects Your Health.” APHA, American Public Health Association, https://www.apha.org/news-and-media/multimedia/infographics/how-climate-change-affects-your-health. Accessed 18 Apr 2020

“Climate Effects on Health.” CDC, CDC-Info, https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.html. Accessed 18 Apr 2020

Pappas, Stephanie, “What is climate change and how is it affecting Earth?” Live Science, Future US, Inc., 10 Mar 2020, https://www.livescience.com/climate-change.html

Suzuki, David. “Top 10 Things You can do About Climate Change.” David Suzuki Foundation, 2020, https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/top-10-ways-can-stop-climate-change/. Accessed 13 May 2020

 

 

 

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

2 Responses

  1. Yes, I agree with you Melissa, on how drastic climate change can lead to the degradation of human health. This topic is really important because you can see what happens when nature or our environment changes and deteriorate due to our involvement with cutting down trees for wildlife or livestock agriculture and infrastructures that will eventually lead to higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The state of our environment now has left us vulnerable to COVID which has been around for years, but due to current conditions and the large seafood/live animal market in China, the virus was able to “naturally” mutate and able to spread on to humans. Even if this reason is not 100% confirmed, you can see how we are causing climate change by not taking care of our environment.

  2. Hi Emmanuel, thank you for your reply. I actually don’t know much on the history of COVID 19, except where it originated from, but I do believe and I have read some information on how climate change affects the spread of this disease by worsening its conditions.

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