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Climate Change: Public Health Issue

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Over the past two decades, climate change has been debated that it is a threat to the community. It has resulted in the rise of sea levels, increases of temperatures, deteriorating air quality, and changing of the weather patterns. It has drawn to the attention of medical practitioners, that the negative effect of the climate change on Earth, has to pose also a negative effect on the health of the human.

Statistics have shown and the researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared that over 150,000 deaths each year are caused by the climate change. They have predicted that the numbers might increase by a hundred percent by the year 2030, the documented fatalities due to climate change are linked to four catalysts, such as:

  • Increase temperatures
  • Deteriorating air quality
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Vector-borne illnesses

Increase of temperatures

The average temperature has increased as high as 11 degrees Fahrenheit. The rise of temperature pose risk to the public since it is mixed with other weather conditions, it can lead to excessive heat event. Excessive heat event happens when the temperature, cloud cover, dew point temperature, surface atmospheric pressure, and wind speed can cause heat-related fatalities.

The common health conditions that can be associated with high temperatures are:

  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Aggravated allergies

Declining air quality

Climate change and air pollution are known to be associated. Air pollution is a result of the industrial revolution and activities made by the human. The major contributors to air pollution are automotive transportation, electric power, and industrial processes that emit gas into the atmosphere.

Ground level ozone happens when toxic gases are mixed with carbon monoxide, it can greatly affect the lungs and can even lead to inflammation of the airways.

Inhalation of toxic gases can lead to:

  • Premature mortality
  • Cardiovascular disease (ischemic heart disease and stroke)
  • Chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD)
  • Lung cancer
  • Exacerbation of asthma
  • Acute lower respiratory infections

Extreme weather

Due to the climate change wind speeds of hurricanes and storms, total rainfall and floods are expected to increase. With the extreme weather, human health risks have increased its potential.

The risks for human health due to extreme weather patterns include:

  • Foodborne illnesses
  • Waterborne illnesses
  • Winter-related health risks
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Limited resources

Vector-borne diseases

Vector-borne diseases came from infectious microorganisms that are transmitted to people by blood-sucking arthropods. Climate change is said to be an indirect cause of having these diseases:

  • West Nile virus
  • Dengue fever
  • Chikungunya
  • Malaria
  • Tick and flea-borne illness

The health of our planet is directly associated with the human health. Thus, public awareness regarding climate change can reduce the risks of disease and fight against global warming. These effects are irreversible, however, there are still some methods that are long-term and sustainable that can reduce possible health risks associated with climate change.

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