The Dangers of Climate Change.,  by Farook Aman, Ottawa, Canada,

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The Dangers of Climate Change.
 by: Farook Aman,  Ottawa, Canada,

When we talk about climate change, very few of us acknowledge its negative impact.

There are two schools of thoughts; the supportive thought, willing to counter its negative impact, while the other thought do not believe that climate change exists. Some consider a third school of thought as the silent majority who are neither indifferent, nor responsible to attach to the dangers of climate change. Both main thoughts provide supporting arguments.

 

The fact is when we examine the scientific evidence through various on-going studies; we will distinguish the dangers of climate change / air pollution from the false claim of its non existence.

Few people, other than scientists, such as farmer, fishermen, beehive keepers, rangers, etc will experience firsthand the impact of climate change.

Let us cite a simple example: When we breathe in air pollution, our bodies respond to it as if we are encountering a foreign invader similar to that of contracting a virus.   The body immediately issues a warning and orders a response to fight the invader. This is called immunological response which leads to inflammation. Unlike the virus, air pollution does not die entirely. A little bit of inflammation remains in the body, which can adversely affect the rest of the body organs set over a longer period?

One way of protecting ourselves is to keep abreast with the weather conditions news and watch for the Alert / Alarm systems. The broadcast will warn us of the poor air quality invading the region to limit our outdoors activities. It is scientifically established that when we are resting, we breathe an average of 7 litres of air per minute. However, when we are exercising or performing outdoors heavy duty work, it can climb to 100 litres per minute! Therefore, we conclude that the less air we breathe, the less pollution we breathe. Drinking plenty of water can help fight inflammation. Luckily, technology has high efficiency air cleaners and other gadgets that provide some relief.

Air conditioning systems can have adverse effect. Summer colds are common because of the temperature differences between the air-conditioned area, and the outdoors. The opposite is also valid during winter. The air conditioning system gives fresh cool air which dries. Hence it can irritate the mucous membranes. Prolonged exposure to cold air can lead to muscle aches and stiffness too.

Facial masks are recommended, especially for those who work outdoors. Some masks are however not well designed to filter out properly. Other masks do not fit properly.

Conclusion: One scientist says that by using the mask, we may think that we are protected when we are not.

Heat waves-

Heat waves are becoming more common in places such as Western Europe. On July 25, 2019, Belgium, Netherland and Northern France have registered record high temperatures, never experienced since the 1940s. Climate change contributes to heat waves.

Extreme hot temperatures cause heat waves as witnessed globally resulting in considerable number of fatalities, premature baby births, and or births defects, severe asthma attacks, etc. There is no relief in sight for the future generations. It is believed that, depending on the country and region, the average temperature causing heat wave can vary. It starts from

(32C plus) and persists over a period of 3 consecutive days and nights; continued hot nights provide lesser prospect for relief from the extreme heat during the day.  This can constitute heat wave.

 

Studies show that death rate rises when the mercury rises above 30C, depending on the country and region. The process which may lead to causalities is noted below:-

When the body heats up, the heart rate increases as it pumps more blood to the skin surface to cool it off, causing a sweat.  The body experiences considerable stress when the hot and humid temperature persists and the body’s cooling system shuts down, signaling signs of danger; sun stroke, swellings, rashes, cramps, headaches and dizziness. It becomes a medical emergency when the core temperature exceeds 40C causing visual confusion, loss of consciousness or even fatality.

The elderly and children are at elevated risk. Children’s bodies get to a higher temperature before they break into sweat compared to adults. The elderly face diverse phenomena which can cause dehydration due to poor sweating capability or competence.

Those who already suffer from heart, respiratory condition and mental health impacts, heat can have a higher negative impact on them. For instance, studies show higher rates of suicides during hot weather as well as higher domestic violence and higher incidents of still births, premature baby or an infant with congenital heart defect.

 

Scientists describe climate change as: One of the biggest and leading global health challenge / threat of the 21st century.  The burning question is: What and how can we fight back? The residents of some countries, such as Canada for instance, are luckier than others in that Canadians can breathe relatively cleaner air. Nevertheless, human air pollution in Canada claims over 14000 lives per year i.e. more than twice what diabetes claims annually!  In other countries, the impact is even worse with much higher potential fatalities.

 

Authorities worldwide continuously strive to gain regulating and reducing air-borne toxins. Unfortunately, some countries do not respect or adopt similar commitment.  Extreme decision believes that new regulating measures may be the answer. Costly as it may be, it recommends replacing all systems used since the Industrial Revolution, with new sets of guidelines to change our way of life, diet and energy used, etc.

In addition, climate change is evidently signaling longer and more severe episodes of air pollution. Wildfires smoke inhalation is reputed to be the worst rival to human health and generally, the environment. Equally dangerous, periods of high ground-level ozone which is a toxic gas that is produced when pollutants interact with sunlight which worsens during the hot weather condition? Exposure to such lethal gas can cause headaches, coughing, throat irritation and life threatening asthma or even heart attack, prolonged lung complications or even cancer due to persisting prolonged poor air quality.   Although the symptoms may subside when the smoke clears, however, the long-term smoke effects are unknown. Also poor air quality has been linked to low birth weight as well as premature birth.

 

It is advisable to plan outdoors activities during the cooler times of the day and wear easy, loose and breathable clothing as well as breathable socks. Wearing dark-coloured clothing will not assist in spotting ticks.

We should not forget to cover the head. More and more people open the umbrella over the head to protect against the impact of direct sun light.  At home, it is wise to draw in the curtains and close the blinds during the hotter time of the day. It may be advisable too to keep the air-conditioning unit running at a cooler / acceptable temperature; not necessary very cold. Alternatively, we may spend time inside public places, such as commercial malls, equipped with air-conditioning facility. Those who love outdoors activities should be aware of air borne pests, who may carry diseases. Insects, ticks and mosquitoes, black flies, etc thrive in the hot and humid weather condition. The Black-legged ticks bring Lyme disease with them; a disease which is evidently complicated to diagnose promptly. New cases of this disease are sky-rocketing in many parts of the world, including Canada. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics when caught early. It can cause headaches, facial paralysis, heart palpitations, and fatigue as well as confusion and in some cases arthritis. The most up-to-date news talk about ticks also causes rare and dangerous infections, in addition to Lyme disease.

A good friend of mine, who was otherwise a healthy man, suffered from Lyme disease for about two years before he was finally diagnosed and treated. Thank God.

 

Global warming –

The effect of global warming causes catastrophic events such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, clean water can be compromised, stress and exacerbating mental health; these events have an insightful negative effect on human health and animals. We can protect ourselves by knowing the risks; make a plan to prepare against emergencies. To protect against insect bites, wear clothing that cover the arms and legs when for instance hiking, biking or when working in the garden. Also, scents (perfumes) can attract insects. While colourful clothing attracts mosquitoes and black flies, light-coloured clothing deters their attack. Make sure that window screens have no holes to let insects  visit your home! Ticks on the other hand attach to the skin of humans and animals. They can be plugged out with the use of tweezers. Having daily showers may help check the colour of your skin and spot red marks. To prevent infection, ticks have to be removed within 24 to 36 hours of a bite. It is advisable to save the tick in a glass bottle and bring it to your healthcare provider for testing. The good news is that it has been reported that vaccines against West Nile disease and Lyme disease are under way and being developed.

 

 

Pollen and Allergies-

True, Carbon Di Oxide may help your garden grow and look attractive. However, it can also stimulate pollen production which can cause seasonal allergies that may remain for months. Research has shown that air pollution can increase pollen production and even make it more potent. It is therefore sensible to undergo allergy test. We can access sites that offer pollen forecast which also provides information three days in advance to allow plan for the week’s activities, such as picnic, travel short distances, etc.  Antihistamine provides relief for few hours. Shots are also available at your doctor’s office.

 

To conclude, managing our daily life is an essential matter in order to lead healthier and more contented life, especially under the ever increasing dangers of poor air quality. Wearing proper clothing, drinking plenty of clean water,  educating ourselves about the dangers of hot weather conditions and be familiar with how to counter it is an important defensive method to saving our lives, the lives of our children’s, loved ones and pets. We may be able to protect against the heat, but rarely can we successfully protect against wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, etc.  Keep praying for better conditions!

For comments, please write to: farook_aman@rogers.com.

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