Climate Change: Its Ill-Effects on Health

The increase in temperature in the atmosphere is known as global warming. But the climate change is the current term favored by scientists, since it specifically includes not just the increasing temperature of the global average as well as the climate-related effects resulting from this rise. Visit:-

All gasses that have the ability of absorbing the infrared radiation emanating from the Earth’s surface and radiating it back at Earth’s surface, is referred to as greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor comprise the most significant greenhouse gases. Other greenhouse gases include, but are not limited to, surface-level ozone as well as nitrous oxide, hexafluorideand hydro fluorocarbons. per fluorocarbons, and chlorofluorocarbons.

Though a naturally occurring phenomenon it is a cause of warming the troposphere and surface of Earth – the smallest layer of the atmosphere. Out of the greenhouse gases, water vapor is the most significant effect.

Some important causes of greenhouse effect include burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas the deforestation process, the increase in the population, farming and industrial wastes as well as landfills.

Greenhouse gases absorb heat from the atmosphere. At higher levels than normal they can cause an unnaturally warm climate. The most significant cause of the current global warming trend is the expansion of human activity in the greenhouse effect, a warming that occurs in the atmosphere absorbing the heat that is radiating from Earth to space.

Even a tiny global temperature rise can result in grave consequences, such as the rise of ocean levels, population displacement as well as disruption to the food supply, floods, and ill-effects on health. In actual, human health bears the greatest brunt of the negative effects of climate change.

The negative effects of climate change on health

Climate change can affect human health through two ways: first it can alter the severity or frequency of health conditions already impacted by climate change and secondly, by causing health problems in places that have never been present.

The effects of temperature increases (-

Growing concentrations of greenhouse gases can lead to an increase in both extreme and average temperatures. This may affect the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. The loss of internal temperature control can lead to a series of ailments, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion hyperthermia, and heatstroke in situation of extremely hot and even frostbite and hypothermia temperatures that are extremely cold. Temperature extremes can also cause chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, cerebro-vascular disease and diabetes-related disorders.

People working outdoors, socially marginalized, economically poor and those suffering from chronic illness are at risk of the negative effects of temperature increases.

Impacts of air quality –

Changes in climate have altered weather patterns which have influenced the levels and location of air pollutants in the outdoors like ground-level Ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter. The rising CO2 (CO2) levels also encourage the expansion of plants that emit airborne allergens. More pollen and longer pollen seasons can increase the frequency of asthma and allergic sensitization which can reduce productivity at workplace and in school. Poor air quality, whether indoors or outside, could negatively impact the cardiovascular and respiratory systems of humans.

Impacts of extreme events –

Climate change causes an increased frequency and severity of certain extreme events, which could result in health issues like injury or death during an event. For instance, drowning in floods. Additionally, health impacts can occur during and after an event that is extreme, since people involved in such activities as disaster preparation or post-event cleanup can put their health at risk. The extent and severity of health effects that are associated with extreme events depend on the physical consequences of the extreme events themselves.

Vector borne diseases –

Vector-borne diseases are transmitted by vectors, which include mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. They carry infectious pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, that are transferred by one person (carrier) from one to another. The frequency, seasonality and prevalence of these diseases are influenced significantly by climate. Climate change will affect both short-term and long-term impacts on vector-borne disease transmission as well as infection patterns, affecting both seasonal risk and disease occurrence over decades.

Water related diseases –

Climate change is expected to impact fresh and marine water resources in ways that increase the risk of exposure to water-related contaminants which can cause sickness. Waterborne illnesses can be caused by pathogens like bacteria protozoa, viruses, and fungi. These illnesses can also be caused by toxins produced by harmful algae as well as through the infiltration of chemical substances into water bodies by human activities. Exposition occurs via ingestion of the water that is contaminated for drinking or recreation and also through consumption of contaminated marine food and fish.

Impacts on mental health —

Mental health consequences associated with climate change range from mild stress and depressive symptoms to serious illnesses like depression, anxiety post-traumatic stress, suicidal tendencies. Children, the elderly and women (especially post-partum and pregnant women), people with preexisting mental illness, people who are financially disadvantaged and homeless are the most vulnerable to the negative effects on mental health.

Food safety and quality –

Climate change is extremely likely to affect global, regional and local food safety through disrupting the availability of food which will reduce access to food , and making it harder to utilize. Higher concentrations of CO2 can reduce the amount of protein and essential minerals in numerous commonly consumed crops like rice, wheat and potatoes. This could have the potential for negative impacts on the human diet. Poor nutritional quality of food is more likely to impact adversely the vulnerable sections of the population.

Bottom line

In the past 50 years, human activities have produced enough carbon dioxide as well as other greenhouse gases to store additional heat in the lower atmospheric layer and alter our global climate. As per WHO (World World Health Organization):

  • The effects of climate change are on the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
  • Between 2030 until 2050, climate change is predicted to cause around 250000 more deaths each year, caused by malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria as well as heat-stress.

In view of the severe effects of climate change on human health, all of us need to work together to cut greenhouse gases by making better transportation as well as food and energy choices so as to improve our health particularly through reduced air pollution.

Climate change is now an issue for the entire world because it is a source of numerous negative impacts, including those on human health.Climate change must be dealt with by each individual

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