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Climate Change Is a Health Issue

Climate Change Is a Health Issue

When Martha and the Vandellas released Heat Wave on July 9, 1963, it took the world by storm. Fifty-three years later, as heat waves blister the planet—world-record busting temperatures have been recorded in nine of the last 10 years—they’re creating serious health challenges for millions of you. The American College of Physicians recently stated that “climate change poses a catastrophic risk to human health” and said physicians have a crucial role to play in fighting it. So do you.

With rising temperatures we’re seeing more cases of tick- and water-borne diseases and mosquito-borne diseases like zika and dengue fever. Plus, for people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and even behavioral problems, the added physical stress caused by higher temperatures, longer allergy seasons and added air pollution is real. So what can you do about it? Get in front of it:  

  • Use DEET to repel ticks and skeeters; wear long pants in grassy, wooded areas; and banish standing water (even tiny pools) from your yard.
  • If you have asthma, carry your rescue inhaler and check with your pulmonologist or allergist to make sure your allergy and/or asthma control plan is up to date. 
  • If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it’s harder to keep your blood sugar stable during a heat wave. Take your meds as prescribed; hydrate well; take cooling breaks indoors frequently; and check your blood sugar often. And consider taking your 10,000 steps in an air-conditioned mall.

Remember, you have to adjust, so do what you must.

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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