Climate change has an immense influence on our ways of living. It impacts us directly, causing numerous health issues, and indirectly by affecting natural and socio-economic systems. Most people are unaware of the significance of these consequences, continuing with reckless activities worsening the global climate. Even though global warming brings warmer winters and allows food production in some parts, overall climate effects on health are profusely adverse. It is everywhere around us - in polluted water, air, higher demand for organic food, and other natural and health consequences it causes.
Extreme weather affects health
Drastic shifting weather patterns and hot temperatures worsen air quality, which negatively impacts our health. It mainly affects people's cardiovascular system and increases the intensity and frequency of heatwaves. Needless to say, that excess heat can cause heat exhaustion and dehydration, which can lead to kidney failure and premature deaths.
Heat can affects us mentally as well since some people have a hard time coping with extreme warmth. This stressful effect mainly manifests with elderly, overweight people, and people with chronic illnesses. The symptoms can range from extensive sweating to dizzy-spells and collapse. Moreover, prolonged exposure to heat can cause different heat-related conditions, such as heat rashes, cramps, exhaustion, migraines, or strokes.
You can feel it in your bones
You’ve probably heard complaints about bone or joint pain during the change of weather from someone close to you. Or perhaps you felt it yourself. While some experts claim such complaints have no foundation, recent studies have proven that there is validity to it. The discomfort is mainly activated by cold weather, causing pain, stiffening of the joints, and different unpleasant manifestations. We can perhaps attribute it to barometric pressure, air pressure, cold temperature, humidity, or some of the many climate factors. With such various potential causes, it's tough to pinpoint what makes such discomfort in our bodies. However, no one can dispute that people with bone and joint issues "predict" the weather. The pain is real, and it comes during sudden weather shifting. I guess it's up to science to make specific connections in future studies.
The indirect impact of climate on our health through air
Climate change activates the aeroallergens and related allergic diseases. This mainly refers to allergens such as mold spores and pollen distribution. Being exposed to these elements often triggers diseases of the respiratory tract – asthma and hayfever. Thus, people with these conditions need to be particularly cautious exposing themselves to warm weather. Such allergies are often connected to seasonal changes. Therefore, it's essential to pay attention to such triggers of asthma attacks during the change of seasons. However, many undetected allergens in the air could harm us too. Being aware of your condition and taking precautions when leaving home is necessary if you're susceptible to such health issues.
A warmer climate also escalates the reproduction rate, resilience, and distribution of vector-borne illnesses, transmittable by mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. These insects can infect us with pathogens such as protozoa, viruses, and bacteria.
Climate effects on health through indirect socio-economic factors
Besides affecting our health directly, climate change impacts us indirectly through higher demand for health care. Also, this change can manifest through damage to the infrastructure, industry loss, energy shortage, and quite often the lack of food and water. These factors make human sustainability more difficult, activating different social changes, such as hunger and poverty. When exposed to hardship, we succumb to stress, anxiety, and many other mental health issues.
The change of climate can also bring benefits to your health
Moving to a new place requires significant life adjustment. The change of home, job, neighborhood, lifestyle, and climate will affect your well-being, for better or worse. Whether you're relocating overseas to the desert climate of Dubai, rainy weather of the Emerald Isle, or moving interstate to the mountains of Canada, a sudden change of environment can affect your mind and body in more ways than you know it. Thus, it's crucial to eliminate as many stressful factors as you can before the move. The only way to prepare for this type of relocation is to research all factors that will influence your life abroad.
However, not every change of climate is unfavorable. Life in the cities has become unbearable due to pollution and stressful factors that impact our well-being. Moving to a warm environment can genuinely benefit you, especially if you’re prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
People have turned a blind eye for too long when it comes to negative traits global warming brings. It's about time we realized that climate change is not only bad for the Earth but also our health. Everyone copes with these effects differently because the impact is different by geography, age, gender, and socio-economic status. However, we can feel it everywhere around us, from breathing the polluted air, eating genetically modified food to facing natural disasters more often every year. And that is not mentioning the daily stress occurring with 90% of humans on the planet caused by these factors. Even though there are a few positive sides to warm weather, adverse climate effects on health are immense. Only through awareness and prevention can we take a step in the right direction to preserve the planet and our well-being.
Mary Cooper is a Sydney-based freelance writer and a geography teacher. Three years ago, she started working for relocation specialists from a2bmovingandstorage.com, making people adapt to their new homes faster. Except blogging, her interests lay in gardening, traveling, and swimming.