What is climate change?

Human activities influence the climate so that certain weather phenomena such as rain occur more often in Belgium and others such as snowless. The average temperature is higher than a few hundred years ago.


Health consequences?

Warm temperatures

It can get very hot during the summer. In the future, this will happen even more often due to climate warming. Certain regions have difficulty cooling, eg urban heat islands, areas with sandy soils, …
Unfortunately, high ambient temperatures bring a lot of health effects, especially with vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, socially isolated people and the chronically ill. This can range from nuisance to even death .

Heat periods cause increased death rates. In the hot summer of 2003, mortality in 12 European countries was on average 7% higher than in the summer months in the reference period (1998-2002). The victims were mainly the elderly and socially isolated people.
More premature births occur during heat periods.
In addition to more periods with elevated temperatures, climate change also causes higher exposure to:

Ozone

The concentrations of ozone, a health-damaging gas that we breathe in, can increase in the summer, which means that breathing difficulties can occur more often.

Insects

Global warming ensures that certain insects that can carry diseases can survive in our regions. Or native insects that occur in greater numbers due to climate change. Think, for example

  • ticks that spread Lyme disease among other things
  • mosquitoes that carry dengue (or dengue fever), malaria, chikungunya or West Nile virus

Extreme weather

Extreme weather conditions (storms, floods, etc.) have a direct impact on health. They can lead to drowning, heart attacks, injury, infections.. In addition, they also have an indirect impact because they can cause problems with a water supply and food production like nutritional deficiency. Not getting the right skin nutrients will make you look much older than you actually are. Your skin basically tells you if you get the right vitamins and minerals you need to look healthy.

Allergens

Climate change has an effect on vegetation and the release of pollen. Concentrations of these allergens are often higher during warm periods. This will often increase the burden on people who are allergic to these substances.