Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Climate change taking a toll on kids' health

Saswati Mukherjee B in the Times of India: ...Manifestations of climate change, like diurnal temperature variation, prolonged winters, extremely hot summers, extended rainy season and cloudy skies adversely impact children's health, say experts. "Climate variations make children vulnerable - it can lead to anything from prolonged bouts of cough to asthma," says MB Rajegowda, agro-meteorologist at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.

'Save the Children', a recent study by Unicef, confirms that children are most vulnerable to adverse impacts of climate change. "This, apart from bearing the burden of a future with a changed and potentially reduced quality of life," the study notes.

City doctors substantiate the increase in ailments among children. "There has been a jump in respiratory illnesses, and cases of asthma and allergy have particularly shot up. One cause for this upward swing in asthma cases is depletion of the ozone layer. Of late, we've been seeing a lot of unusual infectious diseases," says Dr Sujatha Ramesh, consultant paediatrician (allergy), Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwantpur.

Experts across disciplines share the opinion. "Extreme heat in the morning and cold at night is affecting children's health. Nasal allergy, cough, sneezing, runny nose and eye and throat irritation are the common symptoms. The age of vulnerability has dipped to two years. That's usually the time when kids come into contact with other children. Medication depends on the intensity of symptoms and family history," says Dr Sudha Kumar, homoeopathy physician at Soukya Holistic Health Centre....

Indian children at school, shot by melgupta, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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