Understand the environmental threats climate change poses to a person’s health and how to deal with it.
Disclaimer: This article features medical and health topics for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace or serve as medical or professional advice for self-diagnosis, self-treatment, self-medication, or the like for any health-related condition or medical emergency. Make sure to consult a health care or medical professional for proper medical care, diagnosis, or treatment related to your situation.
There’s been an on-going discussion from various health organizations and health publications about how climate and specifically climate change affects not only nature, but as well as human health.
Through our research and an interview with Dr. Ma. Gia Grace B. Sison, MD DPCOM and Head of Makati Med Wellness Center, Southstar Drug shares how these external factors, such as climate, are detrimental to our health. We also looked into what we can do to take better care of ourselves and how to deal with extreme situations caused by nature.
Health Risks Because of Climate Change
Among the key facts from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Newsroom, they have shared that climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. When our basic needs are affected, it has an impact on the quality of life.
Unfortunately, no one is safe from climate change, even the Philippines. Although we have a tropical country blessed with only two seasons—the dry and wet season, we are just as exposed to the different threats to our health due to climate related diseases.
Considering that most of us are cooped in at home since the pandemic started, there isn’t as much physical activity to do. Limited access to healthy food is also a problem for certain people. Thus, with these key factors along with the changes in climate, it can possibly be stressful for our bodies, compromising our immunity.
In an article from the Medical News Today, an international web-based outlet for medical information, they have also highlighted that these drastic changes “…can increase existing health problems, as well as creating new ones.”
Now that the ber-months have rolled in, we’ve been experiencing the frequent shift between scorching hot to seriously pouring weather conditions. The effects on our environment and immediate surroundings further increases the tendency to mess up our health. Nature leads to severe conditions that disrupts our cycle and affects our well-being.
Environmental factors play a role in impacting our health and wellness.
Diseases and Other Negative Impacts on Health
It is important to note that various diseases and other negative impacts can be attributed to the three major threats of climate change: rising temperatures, weather extremes, and rising sea levels. The list below shows different threats and examples of health problems under each.
- Rising temperatures:
- Air pollution (i.e. asthma, cardiovascular diseases)
- Severe weather (i.e. physical injuries, fatalities)
- Heat (i.e. heat stress, cardiovascular failure)
- Water and food supply (i.e. malnutrition, diarrhea, harmful algal blooms)
- Weather extremes:
- Vector-borne diseases (i.e. malaria, dengue, encephalitis, hantavirus)
- Allergies (i.e. respiratory and skin allergies)
- Water-borne diseases (i.e. Cholera, Leptospirosis)
- Rising sea levels:
- Water and food supply (i.e. malnutrition, diarrhea)
- Mental health (i.e. anxiety, despair, depression, post-traumatic stress)
To give insight on the topic of climate and environment and their relevance to a person’s health, Dr. Ma. Gia Grace B. Sison MD DPCOM elaborates that “in terms of climate, if it’s too hot, there is an increased rate of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke. Then the cold climate can lead to respiratory diseases. The air quality is very important [too], especially when it comes to pollution. That is really the culprit. Pollution, inhaling it, plays a huge part in respiratory health.”
Ways to Improve Health to Help Prevent and Fight Diseases
Knowing that we have no control over nature, we can however work to keep ourselves healthy. Dr. Gia highlights that we must “always remember the three pillars of health.” She further adds that these include “having physical exercise, eating nutritious food, and sleeping at least 6-8 hours a day. Nothing replaces that. Yes, you may take vitamins and supplements, but they will only supplement what you need.”
Striking the balance between fitness, nutrition, and sleep contributes to a person’s productivity, safety, and constitution. Strengthening a key aspect, empowers the rest.
Dr. Gia also notes that every family should have a go-bag, an easy to carry bag of necessities in case of any emergency that can be useful for a quick response. She cites first aid and other supplies such as povidone-iodine solution, band-aids, flashlight, whistle, and extra canned goods as staples.
These are necessary not only when disaster strikes, but also during a crisis. So, inspired by this tip, we have also gathered a comprehensive list of other essential items that you may need to protect your health and ensure your safety. Preparedness is crucial for survival in any situation. Listed below are some essential supplies to include in a go-bag.
- Emergency blanket
- First-aid supplies and medications
- Flashlight and whistle
- Water and high-powered snacks
- Lighter and matches
- Personal hygiene items
- Extra clothes
- Radio and batteries
- Money and personal documents
Reminders this Season
Going back to the three pillars and being ready are fundamental. These are valuable during extreme situations that can also help save lives.
Remember, Every choice we make may either help us improve or increase the risk to our health. With everything around us closely linked and affecting each other, it is important to remember that to achieve overall wellness, we are required to take every opportunity to take care of ourselves.
Fortunately, we have the essentials you need at SouthstarDrug. Shop for medical supplies, disinfectants, vitamins and minerals, nutritious drinks and supplements to help protect and strengthen your body’s immunity. Get these items online, via Call and Pick or delivery.