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The Effect of Climate Change on Asthma

The Effect of Climate Change on Asthma

Climate change is already causing substantial changes concerning temperature, air, and water quality, and these are set to worsen within the next few decades. As a consequence, human health will almost certainly be impacted, especially with respect to respiratory allergies such as asthma.

Asthma is a chronic lung condition characterized by periods of wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing – especially when having an asthmatic attack. Such attacks can easily be managed by inhalers and minimized by long-term medication.

Asthma attacks tend to be caused by pollutants and allergens including pollen or animal dander, exhaust fumes (traffic pollution) and air pollution (such as those caused by wildfires), particulate matter, and high ozone levels. It is important to note that the prevalence of asthma has increased over the last few decades and is set to continue increasing.

Climate change and asthma

Climate change will inevitably have an impact on overall human health. Changes in the ecosystem, for example, will affect vector transmission of certain diseases such as malaria and Lyme disease. Water quality and availability of freshwater will change thus increasing the likelihood of cholera and harmful algal blooms flourishing. Finally, air quality and levels of pollution of change this increasing the likelihood of respiratory allergies including asthma.

Specifically, with respect to air quality, climate change already has produced a notable effect, and this is only set to worsen, especially in developing nations as they become more dependent on fossil fuels. Even developed nations moving away from fossil fuels will still see the effect of global climate change on air quality due to temperature increases and additional devastating effects that can cause such as wildfires and intentional burning of forests/fields, smog (by traffic pollution), and global ground-level ozone levels.