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Did you know these 4 health issues are on the rise because of climate change?

Published on:22 April 2021, 13:06pm IST
Climate change isn’t just affecting our environment but is also causing health issues. This Earth Day, let’s vow to change this.
Grace Bains
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It isn’t just your environment but also your health that gets affected by climate change. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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We’ve heard so much about climate change recently due to how much it is impacting the health of our environment. Over the last few decades, human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuel, have caused the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This release has increased the average temperature of our environment, leading to its degradation. But, what many people don’t know is that climate change can also have a significant impact on human health.

The thing is that climate change can cause a severe rise in temperatures, something that our human systems are not used to. This can lead to multiple issues, affecting important organs such as the lungs and heart.

That’s why, on the occasion of Earth Day, we want to educate you on the 4 health problems which are on the rise due to climate change:

1. Heat-related health conditions

The average temperature of our planet has gone up in the past few years due to climate change. The summer season in many places, including India, is characterised by fatal heat waves. The issues caused by severe and repetitive heat waves range from heat exhaustion, heatstroke and dehydration to an exacerbation of respiratory and cardiovascular health problems. Overall, such high temperatures can lead to a rise in the number of deaths. For example, in the 2003 summer heat wave in the UK, more than 70,000 excess deaths were reported.

2. Respiratory issues

Due to high temperatures, the levels of ozone and other pollutants get raised in the lower levels of the atmosphere. It leads to a severe degradation of air quality. When humans don’t have access to clean and breathable air, it can lead the development of respiratory and cardiovascular issues. The immediate effects of severe air pollution include burning of the eyes, difficulty in breathing, irritation in the throat, coughing and headaches. In the long term, however, it can cause fatal illnesses by increasing your risk of developing cancer.

Air pollution can trigger migraines and other health problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Spread of infections

Climate change can cause a rise in the cases of diseases caused by insect-bites and through water, according to the World Health Organisation. You might have noticed that cases of diseases like the dengue fever and malaria go up during the summer and monsoon seasons. It is assumed that climate change essentially lengthens the transmission season of such diseases, contributing to more people getting infected. 

4. Decline in mental health

It might come across as a surprise but climate change can have a significant impact on our mental health. The number of wildfires, floods and other natural disasters is increasing. Those who experience the death and destruction caused by such instances may develop post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression. Similarly, knowing that climate change is harmful contributes to developing a sense of doom. It can eventually translate into experiencing anxiety. In addition, the US-based National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggests that one’s environmental quality can contribute to the development of Parkinson’s Diseases and Alzheimer’s.

Clearly, we need to take collective steps to do something about climate change and save our environment as well as our health. So this Earth Day, let’s make a promise to take better care of our environment and our health. 

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.