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World Environment Day – How climate change is negatively impacting your health

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World Environment Day – How climate change is negatively impacting your health

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5. This year it falls on Sunday, June 5th, 2022. Climate change is real. And it is not just affecting our planet in unimaginable ways. At present, it is one of the single biggest threats facing humanity. Apart from soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, and an increase in the number and intensity of extreme weather events, it also negatively impacts social and environmental determinants of health, including clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food, health facilities, and secure shelter.

While climate change has a different impact on people’s health depending on their age, gender, geography, and socioeconomic status, that doesn’t mean it isn’t severe. Moreover, vulnerable and disadvantaged sections in this group are women, children, ethnic minorities, poor communities, migrants or displaced people, the older population, and those with underlying health conditions.

According to a report by World Health Organisation, between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 2,50,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress.

So, on this World Environment Day, we decided to list down a few ways climate change has an effect on your health.

While climate change has a different impact on people’s health depending on their age, gender, geography, and socioeconomic status, that doesn’t mean it isn’t severe.

Heat-Related Illness: Our bodies can efficiently adapt to the local climates. However, when the temperature shifts above or below those norms rapidly, it has a negative impact on our health. Studies show that extreme temperatures can lead to an increase in deaths and mild to severe illnesses. These include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hyperthermia from extreme heat, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes-related conditions.

Respiratory Illness: Increasing air pollution levels have become the cause and aggravating factor of many respiratory diseases, some of them being chronic. The main diseases of concern are asthma, rhinosinusitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory tract infections.

Water-borne Diseases: Water scarcity or flooding because of harsh weather conditions is already a concerning issue in many parts of the world. Additionally, diseases caused by pathogen transmitted through water also creates a fundamental threat to human health and well-being. Some of these diseases include diarrhoea, neurological disorders, liver damage, fever, and other flu-like symptoms.

Mental And Psychological Health: Trauma from surviving extreme weather events, like floods, droughts, cyclones, heat waves, and more, could lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Many people who survive or lose loved ones in such extreme conditions can have lifelong Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Malnutrition: Severe weather conditions, like floods or heat waves, have a direct impact on crop production. Crop declines could lead to undernutrition, hunger, and higher food prices. Additionally, a World Food Programme report says that by 2050 climate change could increase the risk of hunger and malnutrition by 20%.

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