Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently published an article discussing imminent heat waves in the country. Extreme heat-related illnesses are preventable yet many people across the globe succumb to them due to a lack of heat wave preparation. In an attempt to make the situation better, CDC has partnered itself with many local and international organizations to increase its efforts in protecting people against extreme heat-related illnesses.
Climate change is turning into an increasingly serious concern on a global level. With an increased discharge of greenhouse gases in the environment, ozone decay and exponential increase in pollution, global warming is becoming an inevitable concern for experts across globe. Therefore, it is advised that people take charge of their health and begin to take preventive measures to secure themselves from scorching heat.
According to an estimate, 7,400 heat-related deaths have been recorded between 1999 and 2012, in the United States alone. Extreme heat has been linked to increased hospital admissions for respiratory diseases, heart diseases and strokes. This finding is particularly alarming for patients who suffer from serious respiratory and cardiac ailments since an increase in temperature can aggravate their health conditions.
As June began, California, Oregon and Southwest states started to experience the first heat wave of the summer. Meteorology experts have predicted the temperature to increase further, elevating it to triple-digit temperatures in just a few days’ time.
In accordance with the heat wave, outdoor events in Portland and California have already been rescheduled to avoid heat-related illness among people. A report has claimed that the temperature will peak on Saturday, ranging from 105-110 in Sin City, 111-118 in Phoenix and 115-121 in Death Valley.
National Weather Service Meteorologist, Clay Morgan has identified this sudden increase in temperature as an indicator of a worsening climate situation that is impacting the health of people exposed to this heat.
Earlier this year, scientists had claimed to have found a way to predict heat waves weeks before they occurred. According to the scientists, the distinctive temperature patterns of water across the North Pacific Ocean can help them present a weather forecast about 50 days earlier. In doing this, the scientists took observations of the hottest days from 1982-2015 in the eastern half of the US and the corresponding sea surface temperature data to find a significant link between the two variables.
If this study is proven to be effective in forecasting deadly heat waves on a larger scale, heat-related illnesses and deaths will be significantly reduced. With the aid of this prediction technique, the potential risks of heat will be dealt with and it will become easier to prevent consequential illnesses.
Heat Wave Preparation Efforts
The CDC is well aware of the gravity of situation which is why it has initiated many programs across states to help people against the scorching heat. The CDC’s Climate and Health Program is currently funding 16 states and two cities through the Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative.
This initiative aims to work as a liaison between cities and climate scientists. This partnership will help residents of these cities to become well-informed about the potential climate change in their respective areas. Once the general population is informed about an extreme weather change beforehand, they can prepare themselves effectively in the face of extreme weather conditions.
CDC also helps cities and states in developing weather impact models and in evaluating how an extreme weather condition can impact the lives of vulnerable groups. This is being done to fight off health challenges associated with climate change.
National Environmental Public Health Tracking Networks have been set up to facilitate people with knowledge about state-specific heat conditions. After receiving adequate information, it becomes easy for people to make optimal decisions about their health and to prepare themselves for extreme heat.
In addition to this, CDC has also been effectively tracking climate change. It tracks the effects of heat waves in different cities and states by collecting and reviewing the health conditions reported by the hospitals during and after the heat wave. It also keeps an eye on the deaths caused by extreme heat in a particular city or state. This data helps experts to critically monitor the pattern of climate change over years and to devise methodologies to minimize casualties from extreme heat in future.
With this insightful data, scientists can make conclusive comparisons between health problems and environmental conditions. This data helps identify geographic areas with populations who are at a high risk of developing heat-associated health problems leading to death. Additionally, the data gathered from different areas collectively looks at the larger picture of climate change across states and countries, establishing findings that help environmental scientists, health professionals and general population alike.
CDC has been actively helping people by publishing helpful information on its website and by using different social media websites to make people aware of the need of emergency preparedness for extreme climate conditions.
The information provided is specific to different population groups, such as patients of chronic diseases, low-income people, children, people aged 65 or above, outdoor workers and athletes. The user-friendly website navigation has made accessing useful information very convenient for everyone.
CDC also offers information on its website in the form of easy-to-comprehend infographs, posters and videos. CDC has made subject-specific videos which help people by providing them with quick and authentic information through videos on topics such as signs of health-related illnesses and ways to stay cool in extreme heat. These are useful measures for people living in states struck with extreme heat.
Online courses on heat-related illness, their prevention and treatment are also available. The tracking program from CDC currently helps build cooling centers in Missouri.
To extend their awareness campaign from the web to the grass-root level, CDC has made available free media tools on the website. People can download the awareness messages and use them as public awareness posters or banners wherever they like.