Do you know climate change has a direct effect on our health? As the climate changes, so does our health.
We may not realise this as there are no major physical effects. However, your health is still at risk for many reasons.
Let’s learn more about climate change and its effect on our health in detail:
What Is Climate Change?
The term “climate change” refers to long-term changes in temperatures and weather patterns resulting from the increase of greenhouse gases. With the immense human activities that have been occurring for decades, there is an increase in the world’s harmful gases and other chemicals.
These gases also raise the temperature of the oceans. They are largely produced through land management, mining, agriculture, transportation, and the burning of fossil fuels (like coal) for power production.
The human population is already seeing these effects in terms of global warming.
Since the Bureau of Meteorology started keeping official data in 1910, Australia’s climate has warmed by an average of 1.4 °C due to global warming.
Effects Of Climate Change To The Planet
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified climate change as a major threat to the 21st century. It has a variety of effects on health and well-being, including:
- Directly, via the increased escalation of extreme weather phenomena (such as heatwaves, floods, and bushfires).
- Indirectly, through deteriorated air quality, an impact on mental health, contaminated food and water supplies, occurrence of many waterborne and food diseases.
Moreover, this climate change will also affect the economy, resulting in higher social inequality.
Who Is At Risk Of Increasing Climate Change In Australia?
While anyone can be prone to the consequences of the increasing climate change anywhere in the world. However, there are a certain group of people more vulnerable to health problems such as:
- Senior citizens
- Expecting mothers
- People with chronic illnesses or disabilities
- Economically underprivileged communities
- Various indigenous groups
If you or any of your loved ones belong to these groups it’s critical to safeguard your health and be alert to any potential signs.
What Action Steps Can You Take To Protect Yourself Against Climate Change?
You can protect your health by making various changes to your day-to-day life. These steps can help you adapt and defend yourself against the negative effects of climate change on your health.
- Prepare yourself for extreme weather conditions
When you place your attention on how the weather is changing in your area, you can take safety measures when it gets hot. Stay inside during intense heat and schedule your outdoor activities when it’s cooler outside. Take your water bottle with you when you’re going outside. Wear a hat, loose and lightweight clothing, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Prevent mosquito bites
An early spring, longer warm seasons, shorter winters, hotter summers, and more frequent flooding occurrences can all result from higher average temperatures. As a result, mosquitoes come around and spread diseases. Therefore, you must avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes by dressing loosely, applying insect repellent to your exposed skin, trying to limit your outdoor activity, checking for stagnant water around your home, and ensuring your home is properly fitted with mosquito netting or screens.
- Adopt unique hygiene practises and techniques
The most common cause of illness, known as food poisoning, occurs through consuming tainted food or beverages. You must practise excellent hygiene, which includes hand washing if you wish to reduce your chance of contracting food poisoning. Furthermore, taking precautionary steps while preparing food in the kitchen can also save you from unwanted health issues.
- Prioritise your mental health
Despite having an effect on numerous Australians, climate change can even have a deep impact on mental health as well. The grief of losing loved ones through extreme weather conditions such as floods, covid 19, and other natural or human calamities can impact your mental health as well. Thus, it’s important to prioritise your own mental health by choosing to live in the moment, getting adequate sleep, feeling safe and protected, doing guided meditations, etc.
- Reduce your exposure to air pollution
Being aware of the air pollution levels in your neighborhood will allow you to reduce your exposure to it. People who live in major cities or industrial areas should avoid spending too much time outside if the AQI is high since the emissions from motor vehicles, solid fuel burning, and industry are the main contributors to outdoor air pollution. If you reside in a town or city, avoid exercising close to busy roadways, set time limits, and try to conduct less strenuous activity, such as walking rather than jogging.
Once you learn the action steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from climate change, you can recover more quickly and safely. We hope this article has brought you the awareness that you needed.