Health impacts

DoctorIn this section, you will learn about the following direct and indirect impacts on health that shifts in precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns (that mark climate change) will have on human health:

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Direct impacts

Direct impacts include:

  • increased injury and death due to extreme heat
  • injuries associated with more frequent extreme weather events. (1)

Indirect impacts

Indirect impacts result from disturbances to complex ecological processes. They include:

  • increased respiratory and cardiac illness
  • the spread of vector-bourne diseases (those carried by animals)
  • contamination of drinking water from flooding. (2)

Manitobans are familiar with the day-to-day health impacts of weather. When high windchills threaten to instantly freeze exposed skin, schoolchildren stay indoors for recess. A flash of lightning sends even the most tenacious golfer to shelter. Joggers run after dark on hot summer days, avoiding heat stroke and dehydration.

We automatically adjust our behaviour to avoid potential weather-related health risks. It is as natural as coming in out the rain. But how will we adjust to long-term changes in weather – to climate change?

The world’s leading experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) believe that global climate change is now occurring as a result of the rapid and unprecedented levels of emission of greenhouse gases, especially from fossil fuel combustion. (3) These changes will have far-reaching impacts on the health and well-being of Manitobans.

Manitobans have a lot to lose if they don’t do their bit in slowing climate change. Good health should never be taken for granted. Visit the Personal solutions section for tips on how to live a more climate-friendly lifestyle.

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