6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect Your Health
Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, climate change is a real concern. We will not be able to live our lives the same way. In fact, our quality of life will drop just because of the increase in temperatures. This is because several other events take place when temperatures go up. These are just seven ways climate change will affect our lives if we do not do anything about it.
Number of Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes
Hot, humid areas are perfect breeding grounds for bugs like mosquitoes and ticks. This already sounds like a nuisance, but it gets worse. A temperature increase raises the organisms’ rate of reproduction and how long they live. On top of that, climate change speeds up how quick dangerous viruses like West Nile, dengue fever, lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever replicate in these organisms.
Researchers are concerned that we may see the return of malaria in the United States.
Warmer temperatures from climate change even affect the storms we have by making them worse. This brings an increase in flooding, which can cause stormwater to mix with our sewage. Consequently, this causes a bacterial contamination, which affects all health. If it is used to water crops, it can even cause food-borne illnesses.
Type 2 Diabetes
Obviously, calorie consumption and obesity play a large role in the development of type 2 diabetes, but climate change can affect it as well. When studying the correlation between warmer temperatures and type 2 diabetes cases, researchers found a four percent increase in cases when temperatures increased by one degree Celsius. One hypothesis to explain this increase is that heat might decrease the activity of brown fat tissue, which is responsible for burning fat and generating heat in the winter.
Mental Health Issues and Suicide
Other studies associate increased temperatures from climate change with an increase in mental health issues. One such study found that the number of mental health issues increased by two percent over five years with an increase in only one degree. For those who find those numbers small, this could mean an additional two million individuals with mental health issues.
On top of that, an increase of one degree Celsius saw suicide rates go up 0.68 percent. Once again, though this seems small, there may be as many as 14,000 suicides linked to climate change by 2050. Scientists hope to study the biological effects on the brain and how it regulates emotion when exposed to warmer temperatures.
When referring to greenhouse gases, almost everyone agrees that they contribute to climate change. People do not realize that fossil fuel pollutants mixed with solid particles (called particulate matter) also affects their health. In fact, particulate matter can aggravate asthma and increase your risk of cardiovascular issues like strokes. One study estimates that eight million people die early every year due to air pollution. This air pollution is not only caused by greenhouse gases but smoke from wildfires and pollen too. Climate change increases the number of wildfires each year as well as the number of pollen plants produce.
Another study found that when temperatures exceed 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), police officers conduct fewer traffic stops. This leads to more unsafe driving conditions, which amplifies the risk of a fatal car crash by 0.5 percent.
Climate Change Affects All of Us
Overall, climate change and warm weather negatively affect human behavior and health. Whether we want to admit it or not, the weather affects how we function in our day to day lives. It is even worse if you live in the city because all the buildings and pavement hold in heat. We have to take every step possible to reduce the effects of climate change so that we can have better health.