Sydney, Australia (PressExposure) August 24, 2009 -- Australian health professional and climate change blogger Dr Paul Roth launched Climate Change HEALTH (http://www.climatechangehealth.com) last month to present news and views on climate, health and the environment.
âA growing amount of scientific research is examining the effects of climate change on human health - and in general itâs bad news,â Dr Roth said.
Climate change is already occurring at a much faster rate than that predicted just a few years ago - it is now likely that problems that scientists thought wouldnât crop up until late this century may occur within the next five to ten years.
âThe rate of measured climate change is much faster than predicted by the IPCC,â Dr Roth commented. âMultiple ecosystems, in multiple locations around the world, have already been significantly changed, with much more to come,â he added.
Most of the health effects resulting from global warming are expected to be adverse. Some of the main (direct) ones are heat-waves, floods, sea-level rise and changes in infectious disease patterns (especially those carried by insects - malaria for example). There will also be major indirect effects on physical and mental health from events like crop failures, mass migration and armed conflict.
âWe have already seen changes in the pattern of malaria, for example. In the East African Highlands the parasite is infecting people at higher altitudes than before, due to warmer temperatures allowing mosquitoes to survive higher up the mountains,â Dr Roth said. âIn the Northern Hemisphere, climate change is also allowing some diseases carried by insects to spread further north - for example Lyme disease in Sweden,â he concluded.
Trying to prevent the worst effects of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions is extremely important, as is preparing ourselves for those consequences that canât be avoided.
Health professionals have a major role to play as educators and influencers within their communities - they need to educate their patients about these issues, and spur them into action while thereâs still time.