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5 ways harmattan can affect your health

Dr. Lala .A.

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The closest you’ve come to thinking about climate change may be be that video of Yemi Alade and Jennifer Hudson singing with some other gorgeous artists. Don’t worry, you’re probably not the only one. Notwithstanding, it is pertinent to know that climate change is real, it’s impact is evident and visible, consequently the time to start making positive change is NOW. Let us protect our future generation.
Below is the compilation of five possible ways climate impacts on the environment affects our health;

A) Climate Change: SHIFT IN TIMING OF SEASON
Effect:
Change in the frequency of health problems that are already affected by climate or weather.
Creation of unprecedented or unanticipated health problems or health threats in places where they have not been previously occuring.
Example: Incidence and outbreaks of Lassa fever were thought to be higher during dry seasons around January to March, however recent data has shown outbreaks high during period of change from wet to dry season. This may be unrelated to climate change, such that public health personnel may have dilemma in possible prevention and warning people about seasonal diseases.
Delayed onset of harmattan. If you reside in Nigeria, you may have observed that some regions are yet to experience harmattan.
Or is harmattan affected by the recession?

B) Climate Change: CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE
Effect: Increase in both average and extreme temperatures
Example: There is an increase in the occurence of health related illnesses like heat rash, heat oedema, heat cramps, heat stroke.
The heat in Nigeria is becoming unbearable. Can some business minded Nigerians package the cold abroad to sell to those of us in Naija?

C) Climate Change: CHANGE IN THE QUALITY OF INHALED GASES
Effect:
Increase in the level of carbon dioxide which promote the growth of plants that release airborn allergens (aeroallergens)
Example:
Rising no of asthmatic patients, Increasing no of asthmatic episodes yearly and other allergy associated illnesses- consequently limiting productivity at work and school.

D) Climate Change : CHANGE IN EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS
Effect:
Increase in extreme weather conditions like flood, drought resulting in damage to property, destruction of assets, loss of infrastructure and public services, social and economic impacts, environmental degradation etc.
Communities that rely on the natural environment for sustenance and livelihood, as well as populations living in areas most susceptible to specific climate change events, are at increased risk for adverse mental health outcomes
Example:
Mental health consequences of climate change range from minimal stress and distress symptoms to clinical disorders, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicide.
Imagine what the effect of drought will cause if freezing of MMM caused such wide panic.

E) Climate Change: RISING SEA LEVELS
Effect:
Increase in precipitation events that compromises recreational waters, sources of drinking water, aquatic animals.
Increased introduction of pathogens into water and exposure of humans to agents of water related diseases.
Rising prevalence of water borne diseases.
Example:
You probably treat malaria so often that you always have a pack of anti-malarial in your bag because these mosquitoes are just everywhere.
PS: Health impacts of climate change is not restricted to just malaria, asthma or mental illnesses, evidence has shown that climate change influences the rise in diabetes, cardiovascular, respiratory, kidney diseases, weight problems and vector borne illnesses.

 
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? INFORM SOMEONE AND TAKE A POSITIVE ACTION TODAY.

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Dr. Lala .A. is a graduate of University of Ilorin who also holds a Diploma in Computer Engineering. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who aspires to be a plastic surgeon involved in creating awareness about women's rights and responsibilities and also training would be surgeons. She is a proud member of various reputable bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI). She loves to read, write, sleep and play the drums in her spare time.