Climate and weather have always had a deep and powerful impact on human life, both directly and indirectly. People adapt to the conditions they live in, and nature has been kind enough to supply us with essentials to stay alive and healthy in different weather conditions. But, the recent change in weather patterns is putting human survival to the ultimate test, along with the rest of the living world.
Recent studies and records show a marked increase in weather extremes, other than short term weather fluctuation – ranging from heavy rains, floods and hurricanes with increased frequencies and strength. They are affecting human health in more than one way, causing financial loss as well as loss of life, but also they create new health hazards for people in the affected area.
Health effects of climate change
Public health is largely dependent on sufficient food, safe drinking water, good social conditions, and obviously secure shelter. The changing climate, which is becoming unpredictable with each passing day, will largely affect all these conditions. Some of the effects have been listed below:
Recently, studies have shown an increase in the number of people suffering from allergies. It is thought increased greenhouse gases like CO2 are responsible for a higher number of potent pollens. Moreover, it is difficult to ascertain the cause of allergies, as the turbulent and unpredictable wind flow can bring in allergic substances from any corner of the world. But as a whole, allergy season has been observed to last longer as well as allergies have been seen to be stronger.
Allergic asthma is a type of asthma associated with allergies. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates half of the 20 million asthma sufferers in the U.S. have allergic asthma. The skyrocketing pollen production, and spore production by non-flowering plants gives an increased patient count for asthma.
Moreover, dust caused by severe droughts in some places is also results in dust allergies which trigger allergic asthma. Ground level increase of ozone, owing to changes in heat pattern also triggers allergic asthma attacks.
Heat related diseases
The human induced climate change is linked to global warming and results in extreme heat waves across the globe. This is not only causing death, but also is affecting human health adversely. Sunstrokes, dehydration and similar complications are becoming part and parcel of summer even in traditionally colder countries.
In the summer of 2012 Europe experience a severe heat wave with areas of the UK seeing higher temperatures than the Caribbean. Similarly in 2003, the area saw a heat wave which killed thousands of people.
Other diseases and risks
Dust clouds in circulation carrying bacteria, fungi, industrial chemicals, heavy metals, viruses etc, are shifting rapidly from one corner of the Earth to another, thanks to the shifts in ocean temperature and salinity. They can cause lot of health hazards once unleashed in any particular country.
The final word
There is some good in this gloomy picture, as there might be some localized benefits. Increased food production in some areas and low death counts in winter can be some of them. All the health issues might not affect all classes of society, but for the better of the human race and the coming generations it is better that we start to reduce the root causes of this problem, by reducing pollution at all levels in every form.
About the author: Kate is a writer/blogger. She loves writing, reading and travelling. She contributes to Juan Domingo Cordero.