How climate change is already harming health

The health effects of climate change are already here, say experts. Hotter temperatures are causing problems ranging from respiratory diseases to heat exhaustion to cognitive issues; extreme weather events are causing direct risks to human lives, the collapse of health care services, and the spread of infectious diseases; and there are increasing numbers of “climate refugees,” including people who left Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

In a December 6, 2018 article in The Atlantic, Gina McCarthy, director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama, commented on the mounting environmental pressures that are already making people sicker. For example, she said, mosquito- and tick-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease are on the rise in Massachusetts. She expressed concern that the spread of such diseases will continue to increase as changes to the climate create more favorable conditions for the insects to flourish.

Read the Atlantic article: How Climate Change Is Challenging American Health Care

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Report: Climate change is biggest global health threat (Harvard Chan School news)