Health consequences of global warming

Health consequences of global warming

Diseases, Technology

The decade that began in 2000 was the hottest decade on earth in at least the last 1300 years. We all have heard how global warming has affected our weather, the air we breathe, our oceans, our crops, and the ice, but what does it mean for our health and the health of our families?

A chilling report was published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet, about how our individual health will suffer, both directly and indirectly, due to increased temperatures. With more people concentrated on earth, we are burning more fossil fuels in factories, cars and trucks. To make things worse, we are wiping out the trees and forests that normally are nature’s way to absorb the pollution.

Health consequences of global warming

Heat stress

In 2003, in the hottest summer since at least 1540, the World Health Organization estimates that 70,000 Europeans died due to heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses. Especially the elderly and people who cannot afford air conditioning are most vulnerable. Extreme heat substantially increases cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and kidney failure.

Spreading infections

The areas affected by mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, yellow fever, and zika are expanding due to the heat and flooding that spread these pests.

Destroying hospitals and access to care

The hotter air holds more water, and brings the double threat of both devastating flooding followed by years of drought. The flooding will tear at our health care infrastructure, such as hospitals. People will find it harder to travel for medical care, and medical supplies will be unable to reach hospitals and the people affected.

Drinkable water scarce

As we saw in São Paulo recently, during severe droughts, people will need to ration water. If global warming is not slowed, and slowed now, such events will become more frequent, and last longer. More people will be exposed to contaminated water, carrying communicable diseases such as the severe diarrhea from Giardia and Cryptosporidium parasites.

Air unbreathable

Ozone is created at the ground level as pollution from cars and factories reacts with sunlight. Ozone is particularly dangerous for people with heart or pulmonary diseases, such as asthma.

What to do

For your health, and the health of your children and beyond, be aware of what is happening around you. Dealing with climate change will not be cheap. Some companies and businessmen will complain bitterly because their profits will be affected if they are not allowed to tear down forests and pollute without concern.

But the costs to all of us will be much more severe, and our health will be much more precarious if we don’t do what is needed, and do it now. Isn’t our personal health and the health of our children and the planet more important than short-term profit?

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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