With the spread of the Zika virus and other insect-borne diseases causing global concern, the effect of climate change on public health is becoming a priority issue. According to the American College of Physicians (ACP) in a new policy paper, climate change will have devastating consequences for public and individual health unless aggressive, global action is taken now to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
“We need to take action now to protect the health of our community’s most vulnerable members — including our children, our seniors, people with chronic illnesses, and the poor — because our climate is already changing and people are already being harmed,” said American College of Physicians President Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP in a recent press release.
In a video interview with BlackDoctor.org, Dr. Riley shared that the effects of climate on a person’s health are significant. “You can think about respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD. You can also think of allergic reactions that we all have to tree pollen, mold, fungi,” explained Dr. Riley. These are made worse by and directly tied to, experts believe, the rising temperature of our climate.
As the temperature of the earth rises, we can also anticipate a rise in viruses like Zika and malaria which are transmitted through mosquitos, who proliferate in warm, moist environments.
The ACP urges physicians to help combat climate change by educating patients about potential health dangers posed by climate change.
But don’t let this information put a damper on your travel plans or summer fun! Dr. Riley simply stresses to “be mindful and prepared.” To learn how to protect yourself and your family this summer, view the video above and visit www.acp.org.