NHS Service

Is Climate Change Our Most Significant Health Challenge?

Is climate change our most significant health challenge?

With the global pandemic, the health focus has been all about transmissible viruses across the worldwide population but another health issue that affects us all is the increasing challenges presented by climate change. As COVID-19 starts to become slightly less dominant in the health conversation, climate impacts are coming to the fore as the developed world tries to put the brakes on when it comes to harmful emissions. This is not just to save the planet, the climate has significant effects on the health of all of us.

Climate Effects on Health

Climate change is the biggest single health factor facing humanity. Here are some of the climate impacts seen with increasing frequency around the world:

  • Warmer global temperatures have to lead to longer and more frequent heatwaves which can cause dehydration and heatstroke
  • Torrential rain and high rainfall volumes mean that floods are more common and severe, spreading bacteria, viruses, and other microbial contaminants
  • Hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires increase the risk of respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal diseases
  • Other indirect factors include the pollution caused in cities which are contributing to increasing temperatures on the planet and which cause respiratory compromise and diseases like asthma

The World Health Organisation (WHO) projects that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will cause 250,000 additional deaths globally. Last autumn, representatives from the WHO took their case to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow with the intention of persuading more countries to sign up for significant change to lower carbon emissions.

More than fifty countries made the commitment to build low carbon and climate-resilient health systems, all part of the COP26 Health Programme which is designed to create a stronger health focus around the United Nations’ climate mission.

Touchwood Pharmacy is committed to supporting global health, with an understanding of the impacts the climate has on daily lives. We work hard to support patients who are feeling the effects of climate change and through professional advice and the dispensation of medicines, can help mitigate climate effects on health. Find out more about climate change that might be impacting your health on our website