Weakens the immune system and exacerbates the course of more than 200 diseases:
what is the risk of climate change for humans
Scientists have found that all the extreme climate events that have become more frequent and severe due to global warming have had an impact on diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and so on. It has been proven that 58 percent, in other words, 218 of 375 infectious diseases analysed were linked to climate change.
Immunity does not cope
As pathogens become stronger to adapt to the changing weather, our body’s immune response weakens due to additional stress. And after the endured coronavirus pandemic, there’s nothing to talk about: human health is more vulnerable than ever before.
Is there good news? Oddly enough, yes. Those viruses and pathogens that cannot survive at higher temperatures have actually begun to disappear. But that’s where the positives ended. The authors of the report suggest that it is unlikely that people will be able to adapt to new challenges in time.
In total, researchers have identified more than 1,000 different pathways by which climate hazards with different types of transmission have led to epidemics.
What is the conclusion? The researchers refer to it as follows. “There are just too many diseases, and pathways of transmission, for us to think that we can truly adapt to climate change. It highlights the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally,” said Camilo Mora, geography professor and lead author of the study.
How does the weather affect our health? Rector of BelMAPE Aleksei Chukanov said that doctors have developed a mechanism for behaviour under adverse weather conditions during a round table in the BELTA press centre. The expert explained, “To a greater extent, meteosensitivity is associated with the difference in pressure inside the body and outside. This leads to different sensations. For example, if blood pressure is higher and atmospheric pressure is lower, then this is a feeling of fullness, dizziness associated with hypertensive manifestations.”
In general, there is a decrease in the sharpness of attention, respectively, an increased risk of injury due to the deterioration of health of meteosensitive people. In such cases, one should not get behind the wheel and do some minor work, especially related to the control of mechanisms.
Also, due to changes in body parameters, in particular, an increase or decrease in blood pressure, the risk of hypertensive crises and complications (stroke, heart attack) increases.
Meteosensitivity is also understood as an increase in the body’s sensitivity to the content of oxygen and other gases in the inhaled air, which can cause negative reactions. We are talking about patients with bronchial asthma, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with coronary disease — these are those who especially need more oxygen in the air they breathe.
How to prevent such situations? It is necessary to take various medications that compensate for fluctuations in atmospheric pressure. More frequent exposure to fresh air is important. It is crucial to observe the regime of work and rest, correctly dose the load, taking into account, among other things, the recommendations of weather forecasters. It is not worth doing the selection of medicines on one’s own, people need to consult a doctor.
Let’s look into the future and find out how the climate of Belarus will change by 2050? Director of the Institute of Nature Management at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Sergei Lysenko shared more details. According to him, the intergovernmental panel on climate change has developed five scenarios, “If we assume that the global CO2 emission fluctuates at the current level and starts to decrease after 2050 (but does not reach zero by the end of this century), then by the middle of this century the average annual temperature in Belarus will increase by 1.7 degrees relative to the current value, and by 2-2.3 degrees in summer. The maximum daily precipitation will increase, especially in May-June — to 30 mm. At the same time, the average duration of rainy periods will decrease, but dry periods will only increase.”
Under the scenario of strong greenhouse gas emissions, assuming that CO2 emissions rise and double by the end of this century, the average annual temperature will increase by 2 degrees by the middle of the century, and by 2.8 degrees in summer.
The increase in maximum temperatures will be about 4 degrees. The amount of precipitation in June-August will decrease by 8 percent. Accordingly, the climate will become more extreme.
In the last decade, we have been observing fairly intense heat waves, which in the 80-90s of the 20th century were observed 4 times less often and their intensity was 40 percent less. All this affects the state of our ecosystems, the sustainability of tree species, crops and affects the processes of land degradation and drying up.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres,
“The climate emergency is a race we are losing,
but it is a race we can win.”