Kids Are More Vulnerable to the Health Effects of Climate Change

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Climate change affects everything — and everyone — on earth, and children appear to be more vulnerable to its effects than adults, according to a study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. The reason? Kids differ from adults anatomically, cognitively, immunologically, physiologically, and psychologically, according to the researchers.

The Columbia researchers examined the health effects of recent climate-related disasters on kids and adolescents and discovered they are impacted more by floods, droughts, heat waves, and diseases than adults.

Possible health effects of climate change include:

  • Dehydration and heat stress leading to respiratory and kidney diseases, electrolyte imbalance, and fever
  • Allergies and asthma worsened by air pollution
  • Mosquito- and other vector-borne illnesses like Zika virus, chikungunya, and dengue
  • Gastroenteritis, leptospirosis, and skin infections from contaminated water
  • Food insecurity and dietary changes brought on by droughts

Sourced from: PLOS Medicine