The 5 effects of climate change on our health

Climate change has very negative effects on the ecosystem, but less is known about its consequences on human health. Direct or indirect, they are particularly worrying for the years to come, when a significant rise in temperatures is expected.

1. Vector infectious diseases

The increase in temperatures in winter, as well as the heavy rains, are conducive to the development of insect vectors of diseases . These no longer have a pause in reproduction and proliferate under these favorable conditions.

The 250 species of Aedes mosquitoes, including the dreaded tiger mosquito, have been expanding worldwide for several years. Ticks, which cause encephalitis , need high temperatures, which allows them today to colonize the northern hemisphere.

Here is a list of rapidly expanding infectious diseases:

  1. Dengue
  2. Zika
  3. Yellow fever 
  4. Chikungunya
  5. Encephalitis
  6. Hantavirus
  7. Phlebovirus

2. Heat-related mortality

The 2003 heat wave, world record summer heat, tied figures dating from the 16 th century. With a maximum drought and a month of April at 30 °, France has seen the effects: + 55% excess mortality, especially among the elderly . In the years to come, this could become commonplace. If greenhouse gas emissions continue, 75% of humanity would be exposed to these heat waves by the end of the century.

Here are the main problems generated by heat stroke on the body:

  1. Muscle cramps
  2. Exhaustion
  3. Cardiovascular decompensation
  4. Mortality.

3. Malnutrition and undernutrition

The intense droughts and torrential rains, which undermine all crops, generate phenomena of famine, malnutrition and under-nutrition. These episodes should increase and touch new continents. Floods, fires and floods, in addition to threatening the direct habitat of many people, destroy natural resources.

Another major problem of global warming: access to drinking water. The drying up of lakes and rivers in particular, would place 75 to 250 million Africans in a lack of adequate water supply and food shortage. In Asia this figure would be 130 million.

4. Post-traumatic mental stress

As early as 2007, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) had established that stress-related diseases would increase because of climate change. By 2050, it is estimated that the number of climate refugees will be 250 million people. It is mainly due to the destruction of housing, to the rise in sea level, to the heat, and indirectly to economic ruin.

These massive population movements carry health risks such as mental illnesses, heat stress and pandemic stress , and suicidal desires. A study in the United States and Mexico has already established a clear correlation between rising temperatures and the suicide rate.

5. Respiratory and digestive pathologies

The collapse of biodiversity and pollution obviously have consequences on our health. Studies that have been carried out on animals or even sponges show that the modification of the climate and the acidification of the oceans and the air have a very negative impact on the microbiome. In humans, this would cause pathologies such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity , diabetes, etc.


As for pollution , it generates more and more respiratory diseases, asthma and allergies , the best known of which is related to pollen. Air quality problems are already observable in Asia, where the population is forced to live wearing masks. Increased exposure to the sun should multiply skin diseases and cancers, as well as weaken the cardiovascular system.

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