Weather affects human health in numerous ways, from lengthy droughts to harmful solar exposures, and climate change has already ratcheted up environmental health concerns. Disease-carrying bugs have spread further. Hotter heatwaves have lasted longer, and storms have become more severe. Human-caused climate change is shifting our interaction with our environment and poses an urgent, major, and growing threat to global health. The increased amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere results from burning fossil fuels for energy. Changes in land use, deforestation, in particular, trap heat near the earth’s surface. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, increasing heat and affecting planetary systems such as ocean circulation, prevailing winds, and cloud cover. Carbon dioxide emissions are the most significant single factor in human-caused climate change. Climate change is wreaking havoc on the environment, as well as the inhabiting creatures and humans. Climate change has a negative influence on social and environmental aspects that affect human health. Climate change is widely regarded as one of the gravest risks to human health today. Climate change has a predominantly detrimental impact on human health that affects various elements that contribute to health. Without considerable progress in addressing climate change, human physical and mental health will continue suffering, and unnecessary deaths will rise.
Climate change impacts human health in two ways:
The increased morbidity and mortality caused by greater temperatures and heatwaves, particularly among vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with pre-existing cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, is an example of a direct climate change impact.
Hot days become increasingly common and severe as global temperatures rise. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two of the most common heat-related disorders, but heat stress can also induce or exacerbate existing health problems. People are more vulnerable to heat due to certain risk factors.
People with certain chronic medical illnesses and those using particular medications like water pills and anti-psychotic meds are more at risk, as well are the children and the elderly. People who work outside or spend most of their time outdoors are particularly vulnerable to the heat.
Rising temperatures are changing climate conditions and lowering air quality. It is due to increasing ground-level ozone and particle matter air pollution.
Several studies have linked ground-level ozone to many life-threatening health issues, including asthma and lung illness. The low-quality air exposure has also increased emergency room visits and untimely deaths.
Crop production and food security projects to be badly affected by climate change in many circumstances, as floods, droughts, and storms can wipe out entire fields. Warmer summer temperatures may make it harder to cultivate particular crops, such as corn. The infestations of pests and disease exposure will rise.
Carbon dioxide also reduces the nutritional value of several crops, such as wheat and rice. Reduced production of basic needs may result in higher grocery prices, which will affect low-income individuals and communities.
Water quality might get harmed as a result of rising temperatures and intense weather. Warm water temperatures and increased stormwater runoff can promote toxic algae blooms, while storms and rising sea levels threats aging drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. Rising sea level has negative public health consequences, both by flooding and exposing more people to contaminated floodwaters.
Climate change is expected to worsen air quality unless greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric concentrations reduce. Warmer days result in more ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog; wildfires are growing in size and frequency, releasing harmful particles and gases into the atmosphere; and allergy seasons are prolonging and worsening.
Disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes and ticks are about to expand their range and activity as temperatures rise and frost-free seasons lengthen. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which thrives in warm areas and may transmit the Zika, chikungunya, and dengue viruses, has been increasing its territory for some time now.
Mental health issues might linger after severe weather has passed. Post-traumatic stress disorder, sadness, and general anxiety are the most frequent mental health consequences of disasters.
Extreme weather isn’t the only aspect of climate change that will have an impact on mental health. Heat can alter mood and promote aggressive behavior, and traditional air pollutants lead to anxiety and sadness. Furthermore, anxiousness can be triggered or exacerbated by the threat of climate change and uncertainty about the future.
The health of the entire population will continue to go down if the climate continues to change abnormally. There are countless direct and indirect impacts of climate change on human health, some of which have already occurred and others that will happen in the future.
Climate change is a universal health problem that causes numerous health problems that can be avoided in many cases if there is enough effort. The adverse effects will only worsen if we work nothing.