Health workers said on Wednesday that increased heat and climate change are "the greatest health threat in the 21st century", and hundreds of millions of people have already suffered in the last twenty years.
Scientists and health professionals said that the effects of climate change – from heat waves to storms, floods and fires – grew and threatened to impede healthcare systems, according to a medical journal The Lancet.
"This is what really keeps me at night," said Nick Watts, executive director of The Lancet Countdown, an annual report listing links between public health and climate change.
Bums and floods, for example, cause not only direct injuries, but also can shut down hospitals, cause disease outbreaks and cause long-term mental health problems as people lose their homes, he points out.
Fires also hurt and destroy people, but also dramatically worsen air pollution in vast areas.
A recent California fire caused by drought, costing more than 80 lives, but also contaminated air to the areas of Moscow to the east, said Jean McCarthy, former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Kristie Ebi, a university health professor at Washington University, said that many of the health effects of climate change were often hit immediately. "We see that they are coming to the communities at the same time," she said.
The Lancet report, prepared by doctors, scientists and policy experts from 27 organizations around the world, called for quick action to curb climate change and prepare for the growing challenges of global health systems.
"The rapidly changing climate has serious consequences for every aspect of human life, exposing vulnerable populations in extreme weather, changing patterns of infectious diseases, and endangering food security, safe drinking water and clean air," he warned.
According to the report, last year, 157 million people were exposed to heat flushes throughout the world than in 2000.
The more adverse weather caused a loss of 153 billion hours in 2017, a 60% increase from the year 2000, as workers in construction, agriculture and other sectors worked on a downgraded tool that often reduced family income.
In India, due to heat, hours of work fell by almost 7 percent in 2017, Watts said.
The report points out that the richest countries also have the effects of heat.
For example, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean are more vulnerable than Africa and Southeast Asia.
This is largely due to the fact that so many older people who are particularly at risk are living in cities that are hiding in heat and may be hotter than surrounding areas, the report said.
For example, in June and July of this year in June and July of this year in England and Wales, there were another 700 deaths worse than usual.
Renee Salas, an emergency medical doctor at the Massachusetts University Hospital in the United States and author of the report, said that she recently treated a 30-year-old man who was destroyed by heat in an attempt to work on two construction work.
"Keep in mind that every statistic has a personal story," she urged. Such medical cases are "often hidden costs to people for climate change," she added.
Lady and disease
The warmer climate-related conditions increase the potential for mosquito-borne diseases such as fever and other health hazards, the report said.
Since 1950, the Baltic region has seen an increase of 24 percent in coastal areas suitable for cholera outbreaks, while in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria-containing mosquitoes can survive, they have increased by 27 percent.
More congenial conditions for some disease-causing germs can lead to greater resistance to antibiotics, said the islands.
The report indicates that higher temperatures seem to limit the maximum yield from agricultural land in all regions of the world, changing the previous trend towards an ever-increasing amount of crop. Ebie from the University of Washington announced that the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would reduce the amount of nutrients in cereal crops, reducing the risk of malnutrition to a great extent even for those who have enough eating.
At the same time, mental health threats are rising – from children who worry about their future in overheating families who are threatened by disasters.
Ebi said that by acting swiftly to curb climate change – either by switching to clean energy or more people walking and cycling, healthcare costs would be reduced by the amount of money needed to reduce emissions.
"Most of the mitigation policies are good for health and now they are good for health," she said.
This story was published with permission from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a Thomson Reuters charitable unit, which includes humanitarian news, climate change, flexibility, women's rights, trafficking in human beings and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate.
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