Climate Resilience 101: Shielding Your Health from Mother Nature’s Shenanigans

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    It is well known that rising temperatures contribute to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which particularly affect vulnerable populations, and that changes in precipitation patterns and warming temperatures facilitate the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever. Climate change has profound effects on human health, having a range of physical, mental, and social impacts. Increased wildfires and pollution-related poor air quality worsen respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.

    Malnutrition, food insecurity, and waterborne infections are all impacted by changes in food production and water availability brought on by climate change. Natural disasters and relocation are examples of climate-related occurrences that have serious effects on mental health and can cause stress, worry, and despair.

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    Addressing climate change is essential to protect human health because marginalised populations are disproportionately impacted, exacerbating existing health inequalities. This calls for comprehensive strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve adaptation measures, and prioritise the well-being of vulnerable communities. Internal medicine specialist Dr Aniket Mule at Wockhardt Hospitals on Mira Road said, “Climate change is no longer just affecting polar bears. Future issues are not involved. Certain regions are bearing the brunt of it, endangering our health and well-being as we know it. People may lose 50 to 58 hours of sleep each year due to rising temperatures. That amounts to losing more than a week’s worth of sleep every year. In warmer temperatures, people have a harder time falling asleep, especially if they do not have access to cool or air.”

    “Rising temperatures and changes in rainfall can make places more or less friendly to disease vectors like mosquitos and ticks, potentially causing malaria, dengue, and Lyme disease to spread into previously unaffected areas,” he repeated. Asthma and other chronic lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis are made worse by ozone pollution, often known as smog, which is increased by warmer temperatures. Ozone pollution can also cause asthma. Many allergy sufferers say that their allergies are getting worse and that the allergy season is getting longer as a result of warmer temperatures and increased pollen production by plants.

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    “Climate change is one of the risk factors most doctors consider when assessing their patients for certain conditions,” said Dr Ravi Gaur, founder and director of DRG Path Labs in New Delhi and Chairman of Unipath Specialty Laboratories in Ahmedabad. It’s normal for the weather to shift. Our bodies adapt to a particular environment and seasonal change. Recent climate and environmental changes, such as extended summertime periods, unexpected rain that causes abrupt drops in temperature, etc., confuse our bodies and health.

    Changes in the weather essentially put our immunological and musculoskeletal systems at risk, he said. The changing temperatures create the ideal environment for several types of viruses to develop and transmit dangerous illnesses. The main health disorders that can be brought on by a rapid change in weather include dengue, malaria, upper respiratory tract infections and diseases, sinusitis, seasonal asthma and bronchitis, diarrhoea, and muscular pains. The use of ACs may lead one to believe they are secure.

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