Doctors say climate change is making Americans sicker. - Grist


Stuff that matters

A bitter pill

Doctors say climate change is making Americans sicker.

But most Americans don’t know it. They can’t name a single risk it poses to our health.

Enter the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, an organization aiming to spread awareness about the health hazards of our overheating world. The group compiled the most common ones in a handy new report. Study up and tell your friends:

  • Extra-hot days and intense heatwaves can lead to higher rates of heatstroke and dehydration.
  • Extreme weather events like floods, droughts, and severe storms can cause injury and death, in addition to preventing ambulances from getting around town.
  • Poor air quality — the result of more wildfires, pollen, and smog — makes allergies and asthma worse and can expose people to harmful pollutants.
  • Infectious diseases like Lyme disease are carried by ticks and mosquitoes. The little pests are expanding their ranges to new areas and growing in population.
  • Food and water contamination can result from floods and heavy downpours.
  • Mental health problems can be exacerbated by the social stresses of climate change — and natural disasters can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

So what’s the most important thing we can do to protect our health, according to the report? Reduce greenhouse gas emissions! Doctor’s orders.