Climate change is probably the Earth’s greatest ongoing crisis. It’s a consequence of the industrial revolution and the negligence of industry and the public altogether. Over the past five decades, human activity has caused excessive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere destroying its natural cooling effect. Chemical reactions and other gases are also piercing a hole in the ozone layer. Therefore, the additional heat from the sun is entering the atmosphere and increasing the temperatures immensely.
Globally, more than 170,000 people have died due to heatwaves in the past two decades. However, heatwaves are only one of the catastrophes brought forth by the climate change crisis. There is some evidence that climate change directly played a role in intensifying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The way healthcare is delivered changed as a result of climate change. The entire industry is changing at a rapid rate. Every year, thousands of discoveries are discovered. Healthcare professionals are working beyond what’s stated in their job descriptions to meet the increasing demands. As a result, there are now more job openings in all types of public health jobs. Climate change is affecting the livelihood of the community and overburdening frontline workers extensively. Read more to find out about how it impacts human health.
More than 70,000 deaths were recorded during the 2003 heatwave. Moreover, the heat has intensified thrice as much since then. Extreme heat also augments certain cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. It is a serious threat to children and the elderly population. Since the year 1990, nearly a thousand babies have died from being left in the car by their parents. The extreme heat in a switched-off car with closed windows causes babies to suffocate. The condition was named “The Forgotten Baby Syndrome” and is common between April and September. Extreme temperature also aggravates asthma and a multitude of other health conditions.
Increased Rate Of Natural Disasters
The rate of natural disasters has tripled over the past five decades. These disasters mainly occur in developing countries and kill thousands of people annually. They include excessive rainfall, floods, cyclones, droughts, etc. Thirty-three people have got recorded that died because of the Australian forest fire in 2020. More than 3500 homes and countless other properties got destroyed as a result of it.
Natural disasters don’t just cause catastrophic losses. They get followed by monetary losses and mental health deterioration in entire communities. In some devastating events, healthcare facilities get destroyed along with homes. Unfathomable hygienic conditions, increased disease transmission, an increase in mental health issues. It also increases inaccessibility to food and clean water, physical injuries, breeding grounds for dangerous insects, and all consequences of these incidents. In many cases, crop yields get destroyed, affecting the production of food. Consequently, famine occurs in that particular area.
Declining Air Quality
Asthma and lung diseases are on the rise due to climate change. Industrial pollution is already causing extreme air pollution throughout the world by emitting harmful gases and particles. Inhaling particulate matter can cause lung cancer and other cardiovascular diseases. Climate change is intensifying the effects making the airless and less breathable. The cloudiness and humidity are also factors that halt breathing in humans.
Increased Vector-Borne Diseases
Extreme weather changes and natural disasters are the perfect opportunities for mosquitoes, various disease-carrying insects, and rodents to breed and spread disease. These vectors house pathogens and protozoa that can cause viruses and infections. Potential health illnesses may include dengue, malaria, Lyme disease, etc. Failure to recover from these diseases may cause fatal consequences. These diseases are more common in less developing areas where people live in unhygienic conditions and lack access to basic healthcare.
Increased Water-Borne Diseases
Due to stagnant water from floods and heavy rainfall, remote communities suffer from many water-borne illnesses. Stagnant water houses algae and cyanobacteria living organisms that can pose serious threats to human health upon being consumed. Communities use this water for drinking and recreational purposes. As a result, they suffer from diarrhea, nausea, cholera, typhoid, etc. These diseases are estimated to cause nearly 500,000 deaths every year around the globe. Consuming fish caught from unhealthy water can also result in sickness.
Tolls On Mental Health
Undergoing a grave health condition or living through a catastrophe can have life-altering effects on an individual’s mental health. A person can have lifelong PTSD, anxiety, or insomnia after it. Losing your home or your loved ones during a natural disaster can be one example of such a catastrophic event. Mental health can be affected even without having to live through a disastrous event. Being exposed to extreme heat can also make it vulnerable. Even if an individual is not going through any of these situations, keeping tabs on the news and updates about climate change can also toll on one’s mental health. Children, pregnant women, new moms, and frontline workers are most at risk during this difficult time.
Inadequacy Of Healthcare Resources
Some communities are most at risk during the climate crisis as compared to the other privileged ones. Notably, rural communities do not have access to healthcare. Due to natural disasters, healthcare facilities often fail to make their way into towns and areas in need. Sometimes, healthcare units get destroyed alongside the other properties. Due to the increased footfall of patients, healthcare professionals are consistently overwhelmed with work throughout their day. It’s somewhat repelling other people to step into this line of work because of the amount of commitment and dedication required.
Moreover, the spread of diseases in hospitals is causing the existing frontline force to be affected. Extreme weather conditions also dangerously affect transportation and communication systems which are extremely important in providing emergency services. Supply chains get disrupted, causing a shortage of medical supplies and pharmaceutical goods. So on a rainy day, if ambulatory services are inactive, women in labor may not make it to the hospitals in time.
The Bottom Line
Climate change has dramatically affected our lives and livelihood. It has altered the way the world works and has caused a massive gap in the healthcare industry. Due to the destructive living conditions on Earth, scientists are contemplating colonizing the planet of Mars. Suppose we want to preserve the Earth for future generations. In that case, we must start to reduce our carbon footprint and combat the challenges of climate change on an individual and economic level. Educating those around us and provision of voluntary services will also help.