How climate change is harming health

Extreme weather and rising heat caused by climate change is making people sicker, according to experts.

A September 16, 2019 article in The Guardian listed the numerous ways that climate change can lead to health harms. It can intensify allergies, heart and lung disease, kidney problems, skin disease, digestive illnesses, and mental health problems. It can also lead to pregnancy and newborn complications and lower levels of important nutrients in food crops.

Aaron Bernstein, co-director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE), mentioned several other health issues related to climate change.

“There’s research suggesting that our prescription medications may be causing harm because of changing heat patterns,” he said. “There’s evidence that extreme weather events are affecting critical medical supplies so we can’t do things as we normally would do because IV fluids aren’t available. And there’s evidence that extreme weather events are knocking out power more and more, and that is a huge issue for providing care in healthcare facilities.”

Bernstein was also quoted in a September 18 Boston 25 News piece on the impact of climate change on New England. He noted that cases of diseases like Lyme and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, as well as dangerous algae blooms, have been steadily moving north as the planet has warmed.

Read The Guardian article: ‘Like a sunburn on your lungs’: how does the climate crisis impact health?

Watch the Boston 25 News report: Climate Matters: How New England is being impacted by our changing climate (Bernstein quoted at 20-minute mark)

Learn more

Climate change takes heavy toll on health, lawmakers told (Harvard Chan School news)

Shedding light on climate change’s threats to health (Harvard Chan School news)