The Effects of Climate Change on Health Care

Global Warming is a growing issue in every type of community, and the cause of this increase in temperature has been proven to be from human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions come from things such as the burning of fossil fuels when driving a car. The increased temperature of the globe has lead to heat waves, a decline in air quality, increased sea levels, and more recurrent major storms, including floods and wildfires. This, in effect, is causing a decline in the quality of the air humans breath, the food they eat, the water they drink, and the places they live. This has been shown to lead to more health problems, including infections from floodwater, respiratory conditions like asthma from the dirty air, heat exhaustion, and an increase in mental illness from the stress of all of these changes and the events that come with them. In addition, there has been an increase in heart, lung, and kidney diseases, which leads to an increase in medications prescribed for these illnesses. Certain mediations, however, are not helpful to patients because they interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, which is critical during this time of global climate change. These medications include antihistamines, stimulants, and antipsychotic medications.

It has also been shown that medical providers have a great impact with making these facts known to the public, and showing them how global warming really does directly affect them. Some ways that providers can do this is by encouraging biking and walking instead of driving to not only cut down on emissions, but to get patients exercising and improving their health. In addition, they can counsel patients with asthma and other serious conditions to make sure they are being adherent to their medications and give them tips on how to keep their conditions in check during these times of stress for their body.

JAMA. 2016;315(3):239-240.

I agree with the findings of this article, because health care providers are an unlikely, yet very useful source of information and support for people in many situations, including during climate changes or times of disaster. Most people don’t listen to the advocates for a “greener” planet, or don’t take them seriously, but if health care providers join the movement, it can definitely make the population more aware of the serious effects of global warming and what it can do to their health. Do you know someone whose health is being affected because of the events associated with increasing global temperatures? Or, after reading this article, do you now realize that someone you know is at greater risk for adverse health effects due to global warming?