Survey Finds Doctors Concerned About Impacts Of Climate Change On Patient Health

Kate Sheppard

January 7, 2015

Huffington Post

American medical professionals specializing in respiratory conditions and critical care are concerned about what climate change may mean for patient health, a new survey finds.

survey of members of the American Thoracic Society, which represents 15,000 physicians and other medical professionals who work in the fields of respiratory disease, critical care and sleep disorder, finds that the majority of respondents said they were already seeing health effects in their patients that they believe are linked to climate change. Seventy-seven percent said they have seen an increase in chronic diseases related to air pollution, and 58 percent said they'd seen increased allergic reactions from plants or mold. Fifty-seven percent of participants said they'd also seen injuries related to severe weather.

An overwhelming majority -- 89 percent -- agreed that climate change is happening, and 65 percent said they thought climate change was relevant to direct patient care. Forty-four percent said they thought climate change was already affecting the health of their patients a "great deal" or a "moderate amount." Strong majorities of respondents also said that heat, vector-borne infections, air pollution and allergies would likely affect patients in the next 10 to 20 years.

Numerous scientific studies have found links between climate change and a variety of health problems.

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