Climate Change - A Danger to Children's Health?

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Sarah Peddie

Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) has called for more action to be taken to protect children from the harmful effects of climate change.

The non-profit organisation said that children will be at risk of getting asthma, heat stroke and Lyme disease due to the hotter and drier summers ahead.

The organisation has now launched a campaign - Make It Better, designed to help parents and encourage them to think about climate change and the impact their choices have on the environment. The OPHA is asking parents to sign a pledge committing to support action on climate change. 

The Make It Better campaign offers tips to help parents keep their children safe during the hot weather. Some of the tips include playing in the shade, drinking lots of water and moving activities to cooler hours. 

OPHA believes that raising the awareness and issue that there is a threat to children’s health will get more people involved in helping to tackle climate change.

Research by OPHA has suggested that a trend towards more extreme summer weather will make children more vulnerable to health problems. 

By 2050, Toronto is expected to have up to 66 days per year above 30°C, which is more than triple what it currently is, according to climate change forecasts by Toronto Public Health. 

Toronto Public Health also estimates that 120 premature deaths are caused by the heat, on average. This figure could double by the year 2050. 

The rising temperatures are expected to have a big impact on public health but OPHA have specifically identified which areas will affect children the most. 

Increased air pollution, a longer pollen season and the possibility of more forest fires could lead to asthma problems.

A more intense heat will lead to heat stroke and other heat related illnesses.

Lyme disease is to become more of an issue due to the increasing number in the tick population.

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