According to a new report, people with lung issues like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a lot more to worry about as our climate changes.
This is especially true for babies, children, and older people. This report was released by the European Respiratory Society, a group that brings together more than 30,000 lung doctors from 160 different countries.
The doctors warn that climate change will make life much harder for people already having trouble with their breathing.
The Climate Crisis Hits Lung Health: Here’s How
The report looks at many different ways climate change makes breathing problems worse:
Hotter weather means more allergens: As temperatures go up, there are more things like pollen in the air that can make breathing hard.
Crazy weather patterns: We’re seeing more wild weather like heatwaves, droughts, and huge storms. These things lead to really bad air quality and even dust storms.
Rain and mold: More rain can cause flooding, which can lead to damp homes. Dampness can create mold, another thing that makes breathing difficult.
You might have noticed that the weather has been getting more extreme. Europe alone has faced record-breaking heat, massive fires, and serious floods.
And this isn’t just bad news for our planet—it’s terrible for our health, especially for those with sensitive or developing lungs like babies and young kids.
What Needs to Change: Cleaner Air and Climate Action
The report isn’t just a warning. It also asks governments worldwide, especially in Europe, to take action now.
The air quality rules in the European Union aren’t strong enough, says Professor Zorana Jovanovic Andersen, one of the report’s authors.
According to her, the European Union should follow more ambitious air quality standards, like those suggested by the World Health Organization, to help everyone breathe easier.
Professor Andersen also highlights that doctors and nurses should be more aware of these extra risks and talk to their patients about them. Knowing the risks can help people take steps to protect themselves.
In the meantime, the European Respiratory Society is doing its part to fight climate change.
Last year, they started measuring their own carbon footprint, and they’re making plans to reduce it. They’re also focusing their efforts to match with global goals for a sustainable future.
The message is clear: we need to act now to reduce the harmful effects of climate change, not just for the planet but for our health.
If we don’t make changes, the people who are already having a hard time breathing are going to have an even tougher time ahead.
If you care about lung health, please read studies about marijuana’s effects on lung health, and why some non-smokers get lung disease and some heavy smokers do not.
For more information about lung health, please see recent studies about how to minimize lung damage in COVID patients, and results showing this existing drug can save damaged lungs in COVID-19.
The research findings can be found in the European Respiratory Journal.
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