Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Public health with be collateral damage from climate change

In a thoughtful article, Anna Davison explores the health impact of climate change, citing a number of well-known names in the field. By now the public health implications of climate instability are very much on the radar. More air pollution with more respiratory diseases, as well as spreading infectious diseases, are just a portion of the scenario.

And as with weather, so with disease – governments and public health officials need better tools for monitoring outbreaks and health conditions, including real-time surveillance. Knowing the exact dimensions of heat waves, bad atmospheric conditions and other physical traits of the environment can help officials protect the vulnerable.

Fortunately, many of the actions need to protect public health against climate impacts are also good measures in the own right. Encouraging citizens to exercise, eat less meat and be watchful about sanitation will improve public health no matter what the climate does.

Image of asthma inhaler by "Mendel," Wikimedia Commons

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