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How Global Warming & Superstorms Make Us Sick

How Global Warming & Superstorms Make Us Sick

We drove to Brooklyn a few weekends ago to help our son celebrate his 30th birthday. It was a good visit, except for his coughing jags. He may be an adult, but I’m still his mom. I gave him no peace until he agreed to see a doctor.

His diagnosis? “Cough-variant asthma, which is likely triggered by allergies,” my son wrote in an email. “It’s not permanent, it’ll probably go away. He [the doctor] gave me an inhaler for two weeks and some pills….”

Asthma, allergies, an inhaler? While these words are all too common in many households — and on a permanent basis — this is a startling diagnosis for someone with no history of either seasonal allergies or asthma.

Like many other New Yorkers this summer, my son is experiencing first-hand the costs and health hazards of climate change. According to allergists, last fall’s heavy rains, combined standing water left by Hurricane Sandy has triggered a surge in pollen and mold problems that are causing an intense allergy season and introducing many of the area’s residents to the joys of nasal congestion, watery, itchy eyes, and, yes, persistent coughs.

Superstorm Sandy’s power and fury was whipped up and intensified by increased ocean temperatures due to global warming. Like most symptoms of climate change, its impact is long lasting, and has the potential to morph into something just as harmful as the event itself — like the ailments my son and other New Yorkers are experiencing this summer.

Those harmful impacts are being felt all across the country. While climate change is making the east coast wetter, it is having the opposite effect in the western part of the country where wildfires are raging out of control. According to the Huffington Post, while heat and fire have an obvious connection,

“…a changing climate may actually intensify fire seasons a variety of ways. Warmer, drier weather and earlier snow melts can lengthen fire’s window of opportunity, for example, a predicted increase in lightning offers more chances to ignite the forest-turned-kindling.”

As a result, the State of Washington Department of Ecology warns:

“Rising temperatures, more frequent and longer lasting heat waves, and drier summers are expected to contribute to larger, more severe wildfires.”

In addition, a report by the USDA predicts that because warmer temperatures are disturbing forests’ delicate ecosystems,

“Wildfire will increase throughout the United States, causing at least a doubling of area burned by the mid-21st century.”

Like their East Coast counterparts, westerners in the U.S. are suffering serious health consequences from climate change-induced natural disasters. Last year, wildfires in Washington State sent area residents to emergency rooms with symptoms that included chest pains, shortness of breath, and stinging eyes.

In its coverage of a 2012 report (PDF) from the Washington State Board of Health, theHuffington Post noted that, “some communities spent weeks with average fine particulate matter readings above that hazardous level.”

Natural disasters like wildfires and superstorms are triggered and intensified by a warming planet. Beyond the immediate damage they cause, those disasters can make our air unhealthy to breathe, threatening our health for months, possibly years, later.

Climate change is hitting home for all of us. For our own health and that of future generations, let’s continue to build on the momentum President Obama set in motion with his recent speech outlining his plan for climate action.

SUPPORT PRESIDENT OBAMA’S CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN

 

Related
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Read more: Asthma, Children, Environment, Green, Health, ,

by Judith A. Ross

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Moms Clean Air Force

Moms Clean Air Forceis a community of moms, dads and others fighting for clean air and the health of future generations. Follow them on Twitter @ MomsCAF.

48 comments

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12:29AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

Thank you for the article, It is so true. Being from Louisiana and going thru Katrina almost 8 years ago. There are buildings still here in the city that have never been cleaned out from all of the water and mold. Some of the real old Libraries, and office buildings at the universities are still full of mold. The people who work in them or go to school in them, suffer all the time from breathing problems. They need to be closed, cleaned out or torn down. period.... Between the water, mold, smog, sand storms, no matter where you live in the country climate change is effectin our health....period.

6:30AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

3:50AM PDT on Jul 28, 2013

Noted

6:00AM PDT on Jul 27, 2013

thanks for sharing

7:26PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

thanks

6:47PM PDT on Jul 18, 2013

Noted.

5:30AM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

Well it's a bit like the lyrics to Laurie Anderson's song Only an Expert:
http://www.lyricsmania.com/only_an_expert_lyrics_laurie_anderson.html

6:58AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Thank you for sharing!

6:46AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Continued from previous post… However, the fraud marches on, even if completely discredited by University of East Anglia emails proving the manipulation of global climate data, as well as revelations who is really financing the massive generation long propaganda campaign promoting the “danger” of a life giving gas plants breathe, called carbon dioxide. Of course, all this is much easier to get away with through successfully dumbing-down our public education in how the biosphere really works. The hoax is nothing more than a criminal theft, and blindly supporting these gangsters just accelerate your own suicide. Oh almost forgot, the zeal to control people’s lives and not address the REAL environmental crises, has even included advocating the arrest and silencing of “deniers”, sieg heil~!!

6:45AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Unfortunate how sites like this continue pandering and contributing to one of the most insidious political, scientific, cultural, environmental, and financial frauds since the Inquisition. Aside from the inconvenient fact global climate has been exhibiting a cooling trend over the last decade, anthropogenic “global warming” has been a massive hoax financed by the central banking, oil, and energy oligarchs, for the purpose of restricting supply, increasing prices, and creating as pretext for a cap-and-trade carbon tax scheme. The confiscation of wealth will exceed hundreds of billions from those who can least afford to do so, which will solve nothing other than serving the interests of those with a financial stake in the scheme, which include the likes of Obama, Gore, et al. Continued on following post…

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Jeez, I don't want to be rude, but no wonder Americans are generally known to be obese.

Love love love coffee...☕

Thanks for the article......don't have an alarm clock of any description...if I need to get up earli…

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