Climate Change Is Making Us Sick
UN & American Public Health Association-sponsored study details the adverse health effects that follow climate change.
Recently, The Lancet, one of the most respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, published a study of the correlation between climate change and physical/mental health. The authors of the study introduce and investigate three primary ways in which the health of Americans will be impacted by continuous climate change:
First, that productivity will decline and sickness will skyrocket because of rising temperatures and the increasing duration and severity of heat waves. Second, that our health systems, as well as our general wellbeing, will be put at risk by increasingly-impactful natural disasters. Third, that warmer climates and warmer water will widen the range of illnesses carried by mosquitoes and ticks, such as West Nile virus, Vibrio, and Lyme disease. The report estimates that “over 3,000 additional people across the country will die prematurely because of higher temperatures by 2050.” To support their claim, they put forth evidence that connects respiratory and kidney diseases, cognitive and mental health issues, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and premature births to hotter temperatures. If these diseases are going to become more prevalent, doctors need to be aware of how to recognize and treat them.
“There are so many stories we hear about people who go to their family doctor with symptoms of Lyme disease and they don’t get a diagnosis for weeks or months because our physicians are not trained to recognize the health impacts of climate change, like Lyme disease and other infectious diseases.” -- Susan Elliott, professor of geography at the University of Waterloo.
The study elucidates yet another way in which climate change endangers the life of each and every human being on earth. Already, we are seeing a large number of climate refugees fleeing their homes because of extreme changes in their environment. This trend will only continue if drastic means aren’t taken immediately to reverse the effects of climate change.