The cases of respiratory, heat stroke and infectious diseases like Zika virus, dengue fever, and cholera are increasing around the world as global temperatures rise, said Dr. Wayne Riley, president of The American College of Physicians (ACP), who are calling for “aggressive, concerted” action against climate change.
On April 18, ACP urged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a policy paper published online in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. They claim that global climate change could have serious consequences public and individual health.
According to a leading group of U.S doctors, climate change is already promoting illness related to warmer temperatures and changing weather patterns, which, of course, is starting to people’s health. Riley said we will see more manifestations of these illnesses if the problem continues to be ignored.
Because of a heat wave, people’s irritability and anxiety increase and it could lead to behavioral health problems, warns Riley in the paper.
“We need to take action now to protect the health of our community’s most vulnerable members — including our children, our seniors, people with chronic illnesses, and the poor — because our climate is already changing and people are already being harmed,” said Riley.
The ACP proposes actions to fight against global climate change
Bob Doherty, the ACP’s senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy, said the ACP is asking its physician members to speak out for climate change policies, create awareness in their communities and promote energy efficiency in their own practices.
The heath care sector spends nearly $9 billion per year on energy costs and is ranked second-highest in energy use, after the food industry. The ACP is urging them to implement environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient practices, generate alternative energy, choose a green building design, and improve waste disposal and management, and water conservation. This way they will be able to reduce their carbon footprint.
“We highlight case studies where this is already being done,” Doherty said.
According to Doherty, the ACP took this stood up, in part, because its members will be the ones treating patients suffering from these climate-related illnesses.
Lyndsay Moseley Alexander, director of the American Lung Association’s Healthy Air Campaign, who considers the paper as a great proposition to fight climate change, noted that some of the effort that the U.S has made to reduce smog pollution in the skies over big cities could be lost if the climate change continues.
The paper was developed by ACP’s Health and Public Policy Committee.
Source: US News Health