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World Environment Day 2020: Here's how climate change can affect your health

Climate change can impact air quality, and vice versa. ©Shutterstock

It's World Environment Day today! Contribute your bit to reduce global warming. Also, be aware of the health effects of climate change.

Climate change is one of the greatest threats to human health. The rising global surface temperature is already affecting the health of millions of people across the world by depriving them of their fundamental rights to life, health, food and an adequate standard of living. Thanks to human activities, climate change is accelerating and along with it the risk of many deadly diseases. As you celebrate World Environment Day today, make yourself aware of the effects of climate change on human health and make other people understand too. The United Nations designated June 5 as the World Environment Day to spread awareness and encourage action for the protection of our environment. Since 1974, when the first World Environment Day was celebrated, the organisation has been encouraging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens around the world to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue. The theme for World Environment Day 2020 is "Biodiversity" and Colombia is hosting the celebration in partnership with Germany. This article is one of the many efforts we have initiated to spread awareness of the dangers of climate change and global warming.

Howclimate change can affect your health

Greenhouse gases produced by human activities are the main culprit behind the rapidly rising global temperatures. Frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought, stronger tropical storms, are the effects of global climate change that we are facing today. Climate change can affect human health in many ways. Some major ones are:

Air pollution

While air pollution is principally driven by extraction and burning of fuels, climate change is playing a significant role in worsening the air quality. For example, wildfires caused by climate change could increase pollutants like particulate matter (PM) in the air. Climate change can impact air quality, and vice versa. High levels of air pollution can cause damage to your lungs and lead to asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), lung cancer, etc. Air pollution is also associated with risk of acute cardiovascular events and coronary artery disease.

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Heatwave events

With the rise in the global average surface temperature, the number of heatwave events is also increasing across the globe, find studies. Minor illnesses related to extreme heat include heat rash (prickly heat), heat oedema, heat cramps, and tetany. But heatwave events can lead to serious illnesses as heat syncope, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In fact, heatwave exposure has been linked to an increased risk of premature death in many parts of the world.

Natural disasters

Increased in the number of weather-related disasters is another outcome of climate change. Asia is the continent most affected by weather-related disasters, according a report from the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, a large-scale project tracking progress on climate change and global health. Natural disasters like drought, floods, earthquake, wildfires, kill thousands of people around the world every year. In addition, these extreme weather events have a significant impact on people's physical, mental and emotional health. It may also lead to increased morbidity and mortality associated with chronic disease and infectious disease by impacting the health care system.

Infectious diseases

Researchers say rising temperatures can increase the spread of infectious diseases by creating ideal conditions for bugs to reproduce and replicate. For example, climate change has impacted the spread of dengue fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes.

Lack of clean drinking water

Lack of clean drinking water resulting from droughts that are increasing in frequency and magnitude due to climate change leads to increased incidences of water-borne diseases, particularly diarrhoea. Changes in the climate is also affecting the overall crop production, which further results in rising food prices and thereby malnutrition.

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