Heat can be deadly, killing more people each year than any other weather hazard. But with warmer days becoming our new normal — or as some climate scientists call it, our “new abnormal” — the adverse effects of higher temperatures on our bodies may last longer than you think.
says the World Health Organization Climate change is the “biggest health threat to humanity.” And while this may seem like a stretch, experts say it’s actually not that far off.
“There’s a direct relationship between climate and health, and what we’re seeing in many cases is ‘climate-exacerbated disease,'” said Dr. Christopher Tedeschi, director of emergency medical preparedness at Columbia University.
Heat wave in US stretches power grid: ‘People weren’t ready for this heat’ (CBS News) >>>
Why extreme heat is bad for your health now.
Walking outside on an oppressively hot day, it’s easy to see how immediate damage can be caused by excessive heat. Increase in temperature And heat exhaustion may be among the first conditions that come to mind. Heatstroke, What happens when the body loses its ability to cool down and regulate its temperature can cause permanent injury and even death, with the body’s temperature possibly rising to 106°F or more in less than 15 minutes. Heat exhaustion, which includes symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and headache, can lead to heatstroke if not treated immediately.
But high temperatures can be harmful in non-obvious ways, and have a big impact on chronic diseases.
“Heat puts stress on your body, and when your body is stressed, it has a harder time dealing with other things like heart disease or respiratory problems,” Tedeschi said. “For example, when you visit the emergency room during extreme heat, more people have heart attacks, more people have strokes, and that just shows the stress on the body.”
High temperature also often leads to poor air quality, high temperature and cold air increases Ozone and particle pollution. And after enduring all that heat that burns us It can affect your sleep Also, exposure to low temperatures maintains body temperature, affects sleep patterns, and inhibits the ability to fall and stay awake.
As Arizona and Texas hit extreme heat, how to protect yourself >>>
How high heat affects your health in the long run
“Personally, I think it’s heat stress that takes a good amount of time,” Tedeschi said. “If you’re constantly exposed to extreme heat or hot temperatures that your body can’t handle, I think that obviously puts things at risk for things that your body can protect against.”
There are additional downstream effects as well. Wildfire smoke — those hazardous gases and fine particles that are inhaled and inhaled — is the most common problem in much of the U.S., with wildfires on the rise in Canada and California. Poor air quality Exposure to smoke can also be harmful in the long run.
“There may be some long-term effects of those small particles that we don’t fully understand yet,” Tedeschi said. “They get into the lungs, they probably cause more inflammation, and they can be responsible for more chronic diseases. Combined with the heat, it’s a very dangerous combination.”
Heat and drought – associated with climate change – are the main conditions for a more intense wildfire season, and as our planet warms, it is expected to get worse. According to the Canadian Natural Resources Agency Climate change could double the amount of area burned each year by the end of this century.
“I think about children who are chronically exposed to poor air quality, and that’s absolutely vulnerable to severe asthma,” Tedeschi said. “If you look at asthma rates and look at temperature data and access to green spaces, there’s a lot of correlation. And so I worry about children, for example, being exposed to poor air quality or developing respiratory problems or having them worsen over the course of their lifetime.
Those mild winters and earlier springs are giving disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes and ticks a chance to breed longer and expand their habitat into new, warmer corners of the U.S. for a ripe wildfire season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says In the year Between 2004 and 2018, diseases caused by mosquito, tick and flea bites more than doubled, with more than 760,000 cases reported nationwide.
And that’s not all that’s increasing as temperatures rise. Dr. Andrzej Speck, an expert on fungal infections at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told Yahoo News that the emergence of new, and sometimes deadly, fungi with the potential to infect humans is now a concern of the World Health Organization. When we get hot, we lose one of our defenses against fungi: our body heat.
Fungi don’t do well at 98.6°F—the average human body temperature—and thrive at temperatures around 77°. But more extreme heat conditions can eradicate those mushrooms that can only survive in rainy environments and allow more heat-tolerant fungi to grow.
HOT BUG WINTER: Ticks, Mosquitoes and Spotted Mosquito Outbreaks Are Driving People Crazy >>>
The many health problems that arise from high temperatures are aggravated by another problem which is condemned. Doctors and medical professionals for years – lack of health care workers.
“Nationally, our emergency rooms are overwhelmed and overburdened and overcrowded,” Tedeschi said. “And when you think about an event that might take a lot of people to the emergency room, like a Whether it’s a heat wave or a bad air quality event, our air conditioning may be one of our biggest threats to weathering these climate disasters.