Climate Change Can Affect Your Health, New Study Says

Global warming can result in heat-related deaths, gastrointestinal diseases, and even viruses like Zika and yellow fever.

Earth being destroyed/exploding from climate change
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Global warming can result in heat-related deaths, gastrointestinal diseases, and even viruses like Zika and yellow fever.

While scientists have been buzzing about the catastrophic results of climate change, a new study says that climate change can also affect you on an individual level, the New York Times is reporting. A new report published in the public health journal The Lancet includes findings from 24 academic institutions and United Nations agencies. Researchers were able to conclude that as climate change gets worse, more and more people will begin to suffer from heat stress.

Heat stress can result in kidney or cardiovascular disease, or it can just directly kill you. Scientists are already beginning to see this possibility play out, with 157 million more people exposed to heat-related health risks in 2017 than in 2000. At the rate it is going, there could be 50 to 100 excess deaths per 1 million people due to heat by mid-century.

It’s also important to note that warmer temperatures will make it harder for some workers, like those involved in agriculture, to do their job. This can lead to tens of billions of hours of lost labor capacity each year.

“Prevalence of heatstroke and extreme weather will have redefined global labor and production beyond recognition,” the report read. “Multiple cities will be uninhabitable and migration patterns will be far beyond those levels already creating pressure worldwide.”

Then there is the health system itself — the extreme weather patterns and natural disasters that occur due to climate change prevents people from having access to a hospital or health facility. It the population doesn’t see any improvement regarding climate change, even more disasters can be expected that “disrupt core public health infrastructure and overwhelm health services.”

Next, there is the National Climate Assessment, which points out extreme rainfall caused by climate change can flood water and sewer systems, resulting in shortages of drinkable water and higher chances of contracting a gastrointestinal disease. For U.S. states that are already hot, like Florida and Texas, even higher temperatures can lure the type of mosquito that that can spread multiple kinds of serious viruses such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. The authors of the study don’t believe that all of these health issues will slowly impact people one by one; they believe they will hit various populations at once.

“We don’t see these health impacts individually,” said Kristie L. Ebi, a professor of global health at the University of Washington and one of the authors of the Lancet study. “We see them jointly. We see them coming at communities all at the same time.”