How Climate Change Affects Our Health

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 23: A cyclist makes his way through snow during the morning commute as a spring storm passes through the area on March 23, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Some areas in and around Chicago have received more than six inches of snow from the storm.

CHICAGO, IL: A cyclist makes his way through snow during the morning commute as a spring storm passes through the area on March 23, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Some areas in and around Chicago have received more than six inches of snow from the storm. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

In the USA, Winter is coming, and Climate Change is only going to make it worse. Perceived as a national security threat by the country, global warming has wreaked coastal cities and froze windy ones, cost the US billions of dollars, and now, recent studies are showing that it might cost Americans their health.

Angela Chen of the Verge recently wrote an article about how different weather patterns affect our health. She concluded that winter is linked to increased risk for heart attacks, as lack of exercise in a frigid and taxing environment causes people to be unfit for post-snowstorm work. Sudden changes in temperature also cause one’s body to experience pain and may inhibit full motor functions, thus further restricting movement and ability to prioritize health.

Hospitalization is also a possibility in a colder winter, especially among women. In an article by the BMJ back in 2004, they noticed that dropping temperatures led to hospital admissions for strokes and heart attacks.

“Overall, a 5°C drop in temperature was associated with a 7% increase in admissions for stroke (incidence rate ratio 0.93 (95% confidence interval 0.89 to 0.97)) and a 12% increase in admissions for heart attack (incidence rate ratio 0.88 (0.8 to 0.97)),” lead author Roger Dobson wrote.

It’s been a hot summer for the country this year, with heat waves and droughts littering different parts of the country, with droughts in California and in the northeast seemingly unrelenting. The backlash of extreme weather patterns such as this is that weather systems become far harder to predict, with so many factors coming into play as cold winds usher in the change in season.

The extreme weather fluctuations have prompted local health and medical professionals across the country to release “A Health Professionals’ Declaration on Climate Change”, a call to arms for the government to take specific action to curb carbon emissions, ratify laws to govern environmental injustice, and reaffirm the need to protect those who are most affected by global warming, as written in the Marietta Daily Journal.

“As a public health professional, I know that climate change can harm the health of adults and children, because it will cause more air pollution, wildfires, drought, and extreme weather events. According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 percent of the current health burden due to the changing climate occurs in children younger than five years old,” said Dr. Anne Mellinger-Birdsong of Atlanta, a member of the Pediatrician and Mothers & Others for Clean Air Leadership Board.

To fully prepare for climate change, don’t just expect extreme temperature swings, typhoons, hurricanes or floods. Climate change can also affect your fitness and health, and constant vigilance would make sure you’re ready for any weather.

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