Sponsored Article: Why Do Pediatricians Care About Climate Change?

Why Do Pediatricians Care About Climate  Change?

By Samantha Ahdoot

Sponsored article from Person of the Planet. 

It’s All Connected...

Our hearts are heavy with concern for the children. We watch the news with frustration, dismay and, yes, outrage. It seems hard to refocus on climate change when it feels like we need more attention on people. And yet...the American Academy of Pediatricians is taking environmental action. This highly regarded and respected organization of physicians is showing that policy change is necessary for the health of the children. And this is physical as well as mental and emotional health. Partial article, Read on:

 

Why Do Pediatricians Care About Climate Change?
Samantha Ahdoot, , FAAP
ct. 26, 201

Read the original article by clicking here...

Pediatricians, children and parents see the impact of climate change every day.  Worsening heat waves and severe weather events, changing allergy seasons and shifting infectious disease patterns affect many children directly.  It can be hard to make sense of it all, let alone know what to do about it.  

Because of their growing minds and bodies, children are uniquely vulnerable to changes in their environment. A changing climate has a wide range of effects on the plants, animals and natural systems on which children depend for their own health, safety and security. Here are some examples:

Heat-related illness

As temperatures increase and heat waves become longer and more severe, heat-related illness is expected to increase.  Young infants and high school athletes, particularly football players, are at particularly elevated risk.

Air quality
Warmer summer temperatures can increase the concentration of ozone, or smog, in the air.  Ozone is a strong lung irritant that causes asthma attacks, emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Wildfires, which are increasing due to climate change, produce toxic smoke that can travel for thousands of miles and cause respiratory illness. Pollen allergies can also be affected. Higher temperatures increase the length of the allergy season, particularly in Northern regions. Increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere may independently increase pollen production by ragweed, a common cause of seasonal allergies.

"Because of their growing minds and bodies, children are uniquely vulnerable to changes in their environment."

Infectious diseases

Many factors, including climate, influence patterns of infectious diseases like Lyme disease, mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus, and childhood diarrhea. Rising emperature has been linked to the northward spread of Lyme disease in the United States, putting more children at risk of this disease.

Extreme weather events
Children's unique needs place them at risk of injury or death, separation from or loss of caregivers, and mental health consequences following weather disasters.  Disasters can also harm children through devastation of the community resources on which they rely for their healthy mental and physical development like schools and hospitals.

Food security
Agricultural productivity and food prices can be affected by extreme heat, drought, flood and rising sea levels.  The nutrient content of major crops like wheat and rice may be altered by rising atmospheric Carbon Dioxide concentration.

Mental health
Children from communities affected by weather disasters are at high risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

"Pediatricians, parents and our communities today have an unprecedented opportunity to protect our children and grandchildren."