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Understanding the Health Effects of Climate Change: Insights and Practical Advice

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Dr. Jessica Nelson
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Understanding the Health Effects of Climate Change: Insights and Practical Advice

Understanding the Health Effects of Climate Change: Insights and Practical Advice

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Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it’s a health crisis too. Our environment impacts our health in numerous ways, including through poor air and water quality, extreme heat, and severe weather. As global temperatures continue to rise, the effects of climate change are threatening people’s health and quality of life. This article aims to provide valuable insights and practical advice to help understand the health effects of a changing climate and make informed decisions for a healthier future.

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The Health Impact of Climate Change

One of the significant ways climate change affects our health is through the degradation of air and water quality. According to an article by Caremark, the increased greenhouse gas emissions have led to a rise in average temperature. This has resulted in extreme weather events and natural disasters, which can have a significant impact on human health. Around 24% of global deaths are linked to the environment, and it is anticipated that climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050.

Rising Diseases Due to Climate Change

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Changes in climate and land use have also been linked to an increase in disease outbreaks. Research by Stanford biologist Erin Mordecai reveals that climate and land use changes could shift the global disease burden. With climate changes, there is an increased risk of the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Understanding the drivers of these changes becomes crucial to creating accurate models and predicting disease outbreaks. This further emphasizes the need to halt carbon emissions and deforestation to prevent the emergence and spread of infectious diseases.

Climate Change and Vulnerable Populations

Certain populations, such as the very old and very young, are especially vulnerable to the health effects of climate change. For example, reports suggest that climate change can have detrimental impacts on pregnant women and newborns. This includes increased rates of stillbirth, preterm birth, birth defects, and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Hence, capturing robust data on both the climate hazard and the health impacts becomes crucial to guide possible solutions, especially in lower and middle-income countries.

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Building Climate Resilience

Organizations like Kaiser Permanente are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and support community-led efforts to build climate resilience. They are working with the Colorado Health Institute to identify recommendations for health systems to help reduce the health impacts of climate change on communities. Additionally, nearly 200 nations at COP 28 reached a deal focusing on how climate change and burning fossil fuels affect health, pledging $2.1 billion for health, food security, and protection of vulnerable communities across the globe.

Weather data can help track and predict upcoming environmental concerns, helping us view environmental threats with the same urgency as highly communicable diseases. Each one of us needs to understand the health effects of a changing climate and act responsibly to reduce our carbon footprint and support solutions that promote a healthy environment.

Climate Change
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