The change of climate affects the health of human beings in numerous ways. Moreover, extreme changes in the climatic or environmental conditions can not only give rise to new health problems but also increase the ones that already exist. Changes in the climate pose a lot of threats to the health of humans. It is precisely the situation where the frontline healthcare workers have a vital role to play to take care of the affected individuals. Now, let us delve a bit deeper into the topic to gain a better understanding of the effects of climate change on human health.
Impact on Overall Public Health
Extreme changes in the climate increase pollution, toxins in the environment, and changes in food security. All these can result in causing physical, as well as, mental health problems. Change in the climate affects some of the vital factors that impact the health of humans that are listed below:
- Quality of air
- Availability of food
- Quality of drinking water
- Levels of nutrition in food
- Safety of shelter
With the progressing climate change, researchers expect a further increase in health issues. According to the researchers of the World Health Organization, it is expected that climate change will increase the number of deaths per year as a result of malnutrition, heat stress, malaria, diarrhea, and others. Changes in the climate can also contribute to the migration of rural populations to urban areas, thereby resulting in overcrowding.
Impact on Mental Health
Changes in the climate like weather changes, natural disasters, etc. can prove to be extremely stressful and traumatic for affected individuals. As per the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been revealed that there is a positive correlation between rates of suicide and rising temperatures. It indicates the severity of the impact on mental health due to changes in the climate. Higher temperatures have been linked to depression and other mental health conditions.
Air pollution is one of the major effects of climate change on the health of humans. Increasing air pollution is extremely risky for human health. Increased levels of dust, fine particles, ozone, and others in the air pollute the air significantly, deteriorating the quality of air. High levels of air pollution cause a wide array of health issues like the following:
- Throat irritation
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Lung inflammation
- Chest pain
- Increased risk of heart attack and lung cancer
- Airway congestion
Arising Infectious Diseases
The World Health Organization states that climate changes are very likely to bring about an increase in a wide array of infectious diseases like waterborne diseases, insect-transmitted diseases, and others. This gives a clear indication of the tough work that healthcare jobs involve to take care of the affected individuals in the right way.
Increase in Allergens
A rise in temperatures can enhance the production of pollen. Rising levels of carbon dioxide can lead to increasing levels of different types of allergens from various plants which results in the following effects on human health.
- Increased sensitivity of allergens
- Worsening respiratory conditions
- Breathing problems like asthma due to increased dampness, fungi, moulds, etc.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, there are several other effects of climate change on the health of humans. The healthcare workers in Ontario and the entire healthcare department are working together to bring about an improvement in the man-made changes of climatic conditions to improve the overall health of humans.