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Asthma, infection, heart risks … Climate change will have consequences for the health of those born today

This is the conclusion of a survey of the British medical scientific journal, "The Lancet", which looks at the effects of climate change on human health every year and decided this time to focus on the youngest.

Asthma and heart risks because of polluted air, infections and malnutrition due to global warming … If nothing is done against climate change, the health of children born today will be more and more threatened along the way. their lives, alarm experts in a report released Thursday, November 14. "Climate change will define the health of an entire generation"says Dr. Nick Watts, who is responsible for this report.

Posted in the medical journal The Lancet a few weeks before the international climate conference (COP25), it echoes the fears that Swedish Greta Thunberg has become the emblem of the world. "If things stay as they are, with high carbon emissions and climate change continuing at the same rate, a child born today will live in a warmer world of four degrees on average by age 71 , which will threaten her health at all stages of her life ", write the authors.

"Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of climate change, their bodies and immune systems are still developing, making them more vulnerable to disease and pollutants"Dr. Watts, from the Institute for Global Health at the University of London, argues. But the consequences on health "persist in adulthood" and "last all the life", he says. He asks for a "immediate action by all countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions".

This report is the 2019 edition of a document published annually by The Lancet. Entitled Countdown on health and climate change, it measures 41 key indicators on these two topics and is carried out in collaboration with 35 institutions, including WHO (World Health Organization), the World Bank and universities. This year, researchers are focusing on the health of the youngest. Among their concerns is air pollution. The report lists the potential consequences: "Decreased lung function, worsening asthma and increased risk of heart attack and stroke."

Another dreaded effect of climate change is the increase in epidemics of infectious diseases, to which children are particularly sensitive. Involved, the transition to a warmer climate and with more rain. This would promote the development of bacteria responsible for diarrheal diseases or cholera, as well as the spread of mosquitoes, vectors of infections.

"Driven by climate change, dengue fever is the fastest spreading mosquito viral disease in the world", prevents the report. "Nine of the ten best years for dengue transmission have occurred since 2000, allowing mosquitoes to invade new territories in Europe", according to the researchers.

Finally, more generally, the authors of the report stress that a child born today will be more and more exposed to extreme weather events: heat waves, droughts, floods or forest fires.


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