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Speaking of climate change, Canadians face health risks, saying doctors

A new report from one of the world's most prestigious medical journals says that Canada is not able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, not only kills the planet, but also kills Canadians.

A report on the health impact of climate change, published by The Lancet on Wednesday, concluded that a successful fight against climate change would be the only major thing government can do to improve human health in this century.

The report says that chronic exposure to air pollution caused by greenhouse gas emissions contributes about 7 142 Canadians per year and 2.1 million people worldwide.

Heat waves, forest fires, floods and major storms lead to more deaths and prolonged illnesses, but there is little data available.

The first recommendation in the report is to simply track heat-related illnesses and deaths in Canada, which is not done in all provinces.

Kevin Key / Slworking using Getty Images

The 2018 forest fires season is the worst event in California, which has a total of 7,799 fires.

Quebec health officials said last summer that 90 people died during heat waves. Southern and eastern Ontario suffered the same heat, but Ontario did not control heat-related deaths in the same way, so nobody knew how many people had affected the province.

Dr. Courtney Howard, an emergency doctor from Yellowknife, who wrote a section of the Canadian report, said right now that the world is on its way to rising temperatures that we can not adapt to, resulting in more deaths and illnesses.

The global average surface temperature is already about 1 C warmer than before the pre-industrial era, and if we continue to emit greenhouse gas at current levels, the increase will be from 2.6 C to 4.8 C by the end of the century, she said.

"We are not convinced that we can adapt to it in a way that we can maintain the same stability of civilizations and health systems we have used," Howard said.

"We are talking not only about preserving the level of illness but also about our ability to provide health care."

Substances of fine pollutants in the air cause premature death from heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, acute respiratory infections and chronic lung disease. The most common heat waves contribute to heat stroke and more intense pollen season, which can aggravate allergies and asthma, as well as forest fires.

"We are not convinced that we can adapt to it in a way that we can maintain the same civilization stability and health systems we have used." Dr. Courtney Howard, Emergency Doctor from Yellowknife.

The warmer temperatures also help the insects to flourish, which means more damaged disease. The incidence of Lyme disease transmitted by ticks increased by 50 percent only in 2017.

Howard said that the new term between mental health professionals is a "ecological alarm" that describes the spiritual stress caused by climate change, or even the only danger that may arise.

Public health officials will have to adapt their responses to dangers such as forest fires, because the intensity and frequency of fires means that communities have a lot of time to produce bad air, Howard said.

Most health authorities advise people to stay indoors on hideous days, but if these periods last for weeks, this is not a sustainable option.

Marc Bruxell through Getty Images

Floods are also rising.

"This is an emergency"

San Francisco this month, fire smoke has caused the air to be the most dangerous in the world. Doctors ordered people to stay and wear masks when they absolutely had to go out.

Howard stressed that work has begun to improve smoke prediction, so people can tell when they can expect them to go outdoors and get a safe exercise and sunlight while smoke alarms are extended.

She said last summer has warned Canadians about how climate change will look like, with record-breaking forest fires in British Columbia in 2017 and 2018, Persian drought, hot springs in the center of Canada, and flood communities almost from shore to coast. She said that some people think it's a new one, but that's not the case.

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"It will be worse after 10 years," she said.

Howard said that if we do not increase our efforts, changes in the world will be huge, including more wars and migration.

"I'm a doctor doctor and I'm working on it because it's an emergency," she said.

Both the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Public Health Association state that they agree with Lancet's findings and recommendations.

"Healthcare professionals see, on the one hand, our devastating climate change for health," said Gigi Osler, President of the Canadian Medical Association.

"From the fires to heat the waves of new infectious diseases, we are already treating the effects of climate change on health," she said.

"This is the Emperor of Modern Public Health."

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