In Los Angeles, climate change is predicted to warm by an average of five degrees in the next thirty-five years. Extreme heat, which accounts for more deaths annually than floods, storms, and lightning combined, is also expected to triple or quadruple in frequency. The toll that a warming climate takes on people cannot be overstated. Higher temperatures will create more smog, which leads to more asthma and cardiovascular disease. Heat also exacerbates such medical conditions as diabetes and liver problems. Cities around the country are facing similar issues as temperatures rise, which means that healthcare professionals have our work cut out for us. Climate for Health is working to ensure that health leaders have the resources they need to start productive climate conversations with their patients and peers, and to work together with our organizations and communities to support policies that protect our wellbeing. If you are interested in learning more, please join us.
For years scientists have warned that climate change will cause melting ice caps, rising sea levels and severe droughts and floods. But global warming's effects can also be far more personal, seriously harming human health.
Most recently, the mosquitoes that can transmit the Zika virus, once found only in Africa and Asia, now breed all over the world, carrying the threat of new, sometimes deadly diseases.
The Aedes mosquitoes, which now live throughout Southern California, didn't start spreading across the state until 2015, experts say. They prefer warmer climates. Last year was one of the hottest on record in the Southland, creating conditions "optimal for Aedes to expand," said Kenn Fujioka, manager of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The changing climate will not only bring new diseases, experts say, but also will threaten the water supply, worsen air quality and cardiovascular disease and cause deaths from extreme heat. From 2030 to 2050, nearly 250,000 people will die each year worldwide because of the health effects of climate change, according to the World Health Organization.
Local officials are beginning to grapple with the myriad ways that climate change could harm residents of the Los Angeles region, where warm weather, our favorite bragging right, is becoming the next big public health problem.
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