Climate Change and Health

63_years_of_climate_change_by_NASAScientists have long argued about the environmental impact of climate change. But a new report is looking at how climate change may also be affecting the health of millions of people.

From USA Today:

Climate change is already having an extraordinary impact on human health worldwide — affecting the spread of infectious diseases, exposing millions to air pollution and heat waves and dramatically reducing labor productivity, according to  a report released Monday. 

“The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible,” the report by the British medical journal The Lancet says, and the situation is so serious that significant gains by modern medicine and technology are being undercut. 

“The delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has jeopardized human life and livelihoods,” the report says. 

Time Magazine wrote, “Changing weather patterns are already altering the transmission patterns of infectious diseases, resulting in unexpected outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever, cholera, tick-born encephalitis, and West Nile virus. Allergy season is getting longer and allergen levels higher. Lyme disease is spreading, with the number of cases in the United States tripling over the past two decades as deer ticks can carry the disease farther north and as warmer temperatures allow them to Floods, which are increasing in regularity and severity, create even more breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects. Uneven, unpredictable precipitation patterns and higher temperatures are also reducing crop yields, causing more widespread malnourishment and nutrition deficiencies.”

The world renowned medical journal ‘The Lancet’ published the study and also put together a short video on the research. You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.

lancet

According to NBC News, researchers listed several recommendations that they believe are necessary to address climate change, including:

  • Invest in climate change and public health research
  • Scale up financing for climate-resilient health systems
  • Phase out coal-fired power
  • Rapidly expand access to renewable energy

NPR.org pointed out that, climate change has caused “an average increase in temperature about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit,” and the study found “several signs that even this small amount of warming threatens the health of hundreds of millions of people each year.”

MedicalXpress.com added:

Between 2007 and 2016, there were on average 306 weather-related disasters (mainly floods and storms) per year, representing a 46 percent increase since 2000. As events worsen over time, the authors warn that current levels of adaptation will quickly become insufficient.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this new report. If you don’t believe climate change is a threat to our health…..let us know why. And if you do, share what you believe is needed to make the changes that need to be made. Generating meaningful dialogue around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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