Hi internet friends! How are you? I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of interest in the “What does it mean when your cell phone says “Unhealthy Air Quality for Sensitive Groups?” post I wrote last week. Turns out, people are interested in environmental health-related issues! Yay information! Due to the interest, I thought I’d roll out some more climate and health-related content. In today’s post, I am going to do a brief overview about how climate change can impact human health.
This has been a more nutrition-sided than environmental health-sided blog lately, but seeing as I’m going back to nutrition as my primary academic focus in fall, why not use my MPH in environmental health science while all the info is fresh!
Plus, it’s super interesting (at least to me, and I hope to many of you) and motivating to make actionable changes in your life and advocate for even more.
So how does climate change impact human health? Well, in a lot of ways! I’m going to do a brief overview of a variety of ways climate change can impact health.
I feel very fortunate to have gotten my MPH in Environmental Health Science with my certificate in Climate & Health from the university that pioneered an academic focus in that area. I realize this is a huge privilege to have learned so much about how climate change impacts human health, and I want to share what I’ve learned with others. So please ask questions about anything! I am happy to elaborate!
**Don’t want to read? Check out the video version here, or scroll to the bottom of this post.
Air pollution causes an estimated 8 million deaths each year. Poor air quality increases risks of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, eye irritation, skin diseases, and neuropsychiatric complications, and even cancer. Air pollution can exacerbate existing medical conditions such as asthma high blood pressure.
Human-produced indoor and outdoor (ambient) air pollution are both serious sources of pollution, both of which contribute to climate change and cause human health impacts.
*Quick side note: does it make sense to you how climate change even occurs? I’d be happy to write a separate post about it. Let me know if that’s of interest!
Got allergies? I have some sad news for you. Climate change can make your allergies worse. How? By changing temperature and precipitation patterns that characterize different seasons of the year, climate change may prolong plant pollination period, and thus, lengthen and exacerbate the amount of allergens that make their way into the air in many areas.
Additionally, elevated CO2 concentrations and temperatures increase pollen output of plants. Meaning more stuff will is in the air to make you sneezy, itchy, weezy, etc.…