Health For AllEnvironment HealthClimate Impacts on our Health and Wellbeing

Climate Impacts on our Health and Wellbeing

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The intricate interplay between climate and health is profound and multifaceted. Undoubtedly, global warming is set to make a substantial impact on the health of communities worldwide. High air temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, severe dehydration, and heat stroke. These can affect multiple organs of the body and can be fatal.

Ozone concentration in the ground-level air can increase because of warmer temperatures. This can result in lung inflammation, deterioration of lung function, and aggravation of pre-existing lung disease. Climate change can increase the density of fine particles in the air. Inhaling these particles can contribute to the development of chronic lung disease, lung cancer, and heart disease. Climate change can prolong the length of allergy season in some areas and can worsen asthma.

Excessive rainfall and flooding can facilitate the outbreak of waterborne infections, including common intestinal infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites. They can also enhance the spread of insect-borne diseases like dengue, malaria, or some encephalitis viruses, and rodent borne diseases like leptospirosis. Since bacteria grow more rapidly in warmer environments, infections from bacteria like salmonella may increase.

Climate change can also potentially lead to chemical contamination of food. Warmer temperatures can raise mercury content in seafood. Extreme weather events like storms, flooding, drought, and wildfire can cause death, grievous injury, and mass displacement. Survivors can suffer from psychiatric illnesses like PTSD. Displacement of large groups of people can facilitate epidemics of water-, food- and air-borne infections. Such events also disrupt communication networks, power availability, and access to hospitals, amplifying the damage.

The impact of climate change on human health and measures for mitigation feature prominently at the Conference of Parties (COP) discussions held annually at the behest of the United Nations. COP 28 unveiled the ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health’ to place health at the heart of climate action and accelerate the development of climate-resilient, sustainable, and equitable health systems.


Dr. Abhilash Ramachandran Nair

Internal Medicine (Specialist),
Aster Hospital, Al Qusais, UAE

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