Climate change impacts on health

Climate change impacts on health

How to protect air quality, clean water, food sources

On average, the temperature of the earth is rising causing more extreme weather events such as the droughts, fires and floods much of our region has experienced this year.

These changes affect natural and human environments (air quality, clean water and food sources) and also can have negative effects on our health.

The impacts on health from climate change are varied and will depend on where you live. They can include respiratory diseases, heart disease, heat-related illnesses, mental illness, malnutrition, infections and other illnesses.

There are a number of things you can do to protect your health from the climate change related issues in your area.

Air quality: Check the Air Quality Health Index for your area. If it is poor, limit your outdoor activity and follow the other guidelines provided.

Sun, heat and extreme temperatures: Stay covered, use sunscreen, stay hydrated, and watch for signs of heat-related illness during extreme heat events. Never leave children or pets unattended in the car.

Food and water safety: Be aware of food recalls and boil water advisories in your area. This is important for drinking, food preparation, tooth brushing, etc. Report suspected food and water-borne illnesses to your local Health Protection office.

Insects and disease: Learn more about disease-carrying insect threats in your area and take precautions if you may be interacting with potential carriers of infectious diseases.

Fires, Floods and other emergencies: In preparation for environmental emergencies, put together an emergency kit and evacuation plan.

Fortunately, everyone can help to limit the negative effects from climate change by reducing your carbon footprint or personal and workplace greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Here are a few things that can make a big difference: Consider “greening your commute” – try walking, cycling, carpooling or taking transit. Using alternate transportation even once in a while can make a difference.

Reduce your energy use. Switch off your computer, lights and other electronics when not in use.

Waste less and want less..

Go local by whenever possible.

By reducing your personal GHG emissions, you’ll be helping to improve air and water quality in the short-term.

Over the long-term, you’ll be helping to secure our water and food resources, reduce weather and temperature extremes and help curb the spread of disease carrying insects. All of which will improve our health.