Climate Change Impact on Health

Climate Change Impact on Health

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Global warming and climate change are caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are largely due to human activity. Climate change is generally characterized by changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, sea level and intensity of extreme events. Climate change affects everyone because our lives are connected to the climate. (EPA, 2013).

WHO (2003) states that global climate change will affect human health through both directly and indirectly. Similarly, the impact will vary depending on the geographical, environmental, topographical and vulnerability of the population. This is because climate change will disrupt or change the various natural ecological and physical systems that are an integral part of the life support system of the earth. The impacts of climate change on humans include:

Storms and floods. Extreme weather events have the potential to cause deaths and injuries caused by storms and floods. In addition, floods can be followed by epidemics, such as cholera, especially when water and sanitation services are damaged or destroyed.

Hot. Heat waves, especially in urban areas, can directly increase morbidity and mortality, especially in elderly people with a history of heart or respiratory disease. In addition to heat waves, higher temperatures can increase ground-level ozone and accelerate the start of the pollen season that contributes to asthma attacks.

Vector biology. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns alter the geographical distribution of insect vectors that spread infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue.

Air pollution. Air pollution is linked to energy consumption and transportation systems. Air pollution causes some major public health problems such as outdoor air pollution (800,000 annual global deaths); traffic accidents (1.2 million annual deaths), physical activity (1.9 million deaths), and indoor air pollution (1.5 million annual deaths).

Food availability. Food availability is a severe problem in countries with large populations dependent on rainfed agriculture. Malnutrition is mostly caused by periodic droughts and causes 3.5 million deaths each year.

Social vulnerability. The most vulnerable populations are the inhabitants of the developing country, the highlands, the hard-to-water areas, the big cities and coastal areas of developing countries and also the poor and those who have no access to health services. This can be seen in 70,000 deaths from heat waves in Europe in 2003, or deaths from new malaria in the Central African highlands where most of the victims are children, women and the elderly from poor families living in geographically dispersed areas high risk.

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