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The Impact of Climate Change On Human Health

climate change

Throughout history, the climate on Earth has been changing.
Seven periods of glacial advance and retreat have occurred in the past 650,000 years, with the sudden termination of the last ice age around 11,700 years ago marking the onset of the current period of climate—and human civilization.
All of these temperature changes are due to very small changes in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy that our planet absorbs.

What is climate change?

Climate change is the long term changes in the earth’s average temperature, The Earth’s average temperature is around 15C but it has been much higher and lower in the past. 

Of course, there are natural fluctuations in the climate however scientists say temperatures are now rising faster than at many other times, which means the world is getting warmer.

but not be confused with global warming which refers only to the rising of the surface temperatures on earth. Climate change includes global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases plus the side effects of global warming, like melting glaciers, heavy rainstorms, or more severe droughts. To put is simply global warming is a result of a much broader human-caused climate change crisis.

Even though Climate change is a major issue facing our planet today, some people believe that it is all a hoax or fake science or an overrated cause.

so here are some facts you might want to look into :

  1. The planet is about 1C colder than it was before widespread industrialization, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
  2. Three global environment and climate agencies reported the 10 year to the end of 2019 as the warmest decade ever.     
  3. The past five years have been the warmest. Each decade from the 1980s has been successively warmer than all the decades that came before.        
  4. Across the world, the average sea level rose by 3.6 mm per year between 2005 and 2015. Much of the change in sea level was once attributed to the thermal expansion of seawater. When the seawater warms up, the molecules become less densely concentrated, creating a rise in ocean depth.
  5. The Greenland Ice Sheet has undergone record melting in recent years; if a total of 2.8 million cu km were to be melted, the sea level will increase by 6 m.
  6. The impacts of climate change can also be found in plants and land animals. These include early flowering and fruiting times as well as changes in the ranges or territories.
  7.  The effects of a changing climate can also be seen in vegetation and land animals. These include earlier flowering and fruiting times for plants and changes in the territories (or ranges) occupied by land animals.

Now that we got that out of the way, you may ask what does this have to do with health?

Climate change represents a broad range of threats to public health. If global climate change continues along its current path, these risks will increase to potentially critical levels in the coming decades. The three main categories of health risks include: direct effects due to heat waves, amplified air pollution and physical weather disasters, climate-related impacts on ecological systems and relationships (crop yields, mosquito yields,The ecology of mosquitoes, marine productivity, and more indirect consequences such as effects of hunger due to poverty , migration, resource dispute (water) and post-disaster mental health issues.

#1 Impact Of Excess Heat On The Human Body

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The healthy human body keeps its internal temperature at around 37°C. A change of more than 1°C could occur depending on the time of day, physical activity and emotional state. A rise of body temperature above 1°C, occurs mainly during illness or when outside conditions are too harsh and extreme for the body to handle . The body increases the rate of heat loss to balance the heat burden in a hot environment. So as the temperature of the environment warms-up, the body will automatically warm up as well and as the body’s temperature rises which could lead to the following illnesses :

  • Heat edema is a type of swelling that occurs among people who are climatically used to working in hot conditions
  • Heat cramps are a pain in the muscles due to salt imbalance ( electrolyte insufficiency) from excessive sweating, they could occur combined with other heat stressors.
  • Heat syncope is dizziness and fainting induced by heat and insufficient flow of blood to the brain while standing. People usually recover fast after resting for a while in a cool area.
  • Heatstroke is definitely the most dangerous type of heat illness. The signs include body temperature over 41°C, as well as complete or partial loss of consciousness. Heatstroke demands immediate first aid and medical assistance. It could be lethal if not treated immediately.

#2 Impact On Diseases

A changing climate and warming oceans are causing extreme weather patterns which have contributed to an increase of infectious diseases both new and reemerging.

These intense weather variations produce prolonged rainy seasons in some regions,and prolonged drought periods in others, as well as introducing new climates to various regions.These prolonged seasons create climates that can support vectors for longer periods of time, allowing them to multiply rapidly, and also creating climates that allow the introduction and introduction of vectors .

#3 Malaria

Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes that infects humans and other species. Since mosquitoes lack the mechanisms to monitor their internal temperature, malaria is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. There were about 214 million cases of malaria in 2015 and a record 438,000 deaths from malaria.

#4 Dengue fever

Dengue fever is an infectious disease in tropical areas that is believed to be caused by dengue viruses. The cases of the disease have increased dramatically since the 1970s. There is no vaccine for dengue fever right now and no true treatment to get rid of it. Dengue fever has been spreading further and further north due to climate change. The disease is transmitted by the mosquito Aedes, or A. aegypti. Some of the symptoms are fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and skin rash. The hotter and wetter a climate is, the faster the mosquitoes can mature and develop the disease. The more mosquitoes that are mature, the quicker the disease can develop. El Nino effects are causing the climate to change in different areas of the world, causing the disease to spread.

#5 Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease induced by Leishmania genus parasites and spread by sand flies. The WHO reports that 12 million people around the world are infected with the illness. Risk factors include poverty, urbanization, erosion, and climate change. Developing the parasite within the sandfly can also be influenced by temperature variations. Climate change has been expected to improve the necessary conditions for phlebotomist species in Central Europe.

#6 Tick-borne disease

The high humidity of more than 85 percent is the ideal environment for a tick to start and finish its life cycle. The maximum temperature was determined to be the most influential element in the conservation of tick populations. Climate effect on the tick life cycle is one of the most challenging predictions to render in relation to climate and vector-borne disease. Unlike other vectors, tick life cycles cover several seasons as they mature from larva to nymph to adult. Expansion in tick colonies is associated with global climate change.. In Colorado, the Rocky Mountain wood tick is known as D. Anderson is located around the front and wants to eat and as a result, infect human populations with tularemia (Francisella tularensis), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (Rickettsia rickettsii), and Colorado tick fever (CTF virus)

#7 Covid 19

According to the United Nations Environment Program the Coronavirus disease 2019 is zoonotic, meaning the virus is passed from animals to humans. A large part of the causes are environmental, such as climate change. The U.N. concludes that the most fundamental way to protect ourselves is to prevent destruction of nature. In April 2020 the U.S. government published 2 short videos explaining the link between nature destruction (including from climate change), wildlife trade and COVID-19 pandemic.

You may like : 5 Things happend during the covid19 pandemic

#8 Impact On Mental Health

Climate change, along with other natural and human-made health stressors, has a wide variety of effects on human health and disease. Any current health threats will worsen and new health threats will arise. Not everybody is at the same risk though. Significant factors include age, economic capital, and location., veterans with preexisting mental illness after a natural disaster were almost seven times more likely to experience new mental illness resulting in suicides. For example, after hurricane Katrina, Suicide attempts increased 15 times relative to regional rates for women living in temporary housing, and the rate of violent crime, including murder and abuse against women, increased dramatically after Hurricane Katrina.

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Read also : The environomental impact of dinner

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