Scientist: Climate change hurting your health
Global warming has caused more severe heat waves, increased pollen counts and lengthened allergy seasons, said George Luber, associate director for climate change at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a webinar presented by the The Ohio State University Climate Change Outreach Team on Tuesday.
The plight of the polar bears and melting ice aren’t easy for people to relate to, he said. When climate change begins dipping into their wallet with higher medical insurance premiums and the need for more treatment, they can see how the issue affects them and their families.
Plants that produce allergens will grow faster, especially in urban areas where heat is more easily trapped.
Large storms will be more severe, like the derecho that blew across the Ohio and other parts of the Midwest last summer and super storm Sandy, which drenched the East Coast last fall. During intense storms, multiple service failures could occur, like the loss of power and 9-1-1 communications, he said.
“Some of these extreme events are going to be far out of our realm of experience,” Luber said.
And recovering from major disasters can take a huge mental toll on people, he said. He cited Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, as an example of a disaster that sent people to mental health professionals for help.
“Our capacity to deal with those mental health issues after disaster needs to expand,” he said.