U.S. respiratory specialists are connecting the dots between lung conditions like asthma and climate change, according to a survey published last month in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society (ATS).
“There’s no doubt climate change had an effect on my patient’s asthma and is having an effect on the health of others,” said Dr. Mark R. Windt, a New England specialist in allergies, immunology, and pulmonology, describing a patient whose wheezing and shortness of breath were triggered by the region’s bitterly cold winter.
“Scientists have attributed the frigid temperatures and historic snowfalls to storm tracks that have become stronger and more frequent because of increased greenhouse gas emissions that alter atmospheric conditions,” InsideClimate notes.
In the survey of U.S. ATS members, conducted by the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, nearly two-thirds of 5,500 respondents “reported that they have already observed symptoms among their patients they attribute to climate change,” Hasemyer writes. “The doctors, registered nurses, and respiratory therapists who answered questions said they were seeing worsening of asthma associated with exposure to ozone or other pollutants, longer and more severe allergy seasons, and more cases of acute and chronic lung conditions.”
People with chronic diseases, the poor, children under four, and adults over 60 “will be disproportionately affected by climate change disorders.”
(Rachel, this one’s for you.)