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Health Consequences Of Climate Change Outlined

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Health Consequences Of Climate Change Outlined

Wellington, Sept 3 NZPA - Two GPs are warning that doctors need to be prepared for a wave of new ailments this century caused by climate change, including more accidents, gastroenteritis, skin cancer, depression and dengue fever.

Speaking at the Royal NZ College of GPs conference in Christchurch this morning, GPs Rochelle Phipps of Christchurch and Rebecca Randerson of Johnsonville said climate change would have "significant implications" for general practice.

More injuries and deaths from disasters such as floods, landslides, storms and fires were predicted, as well as food poisoning problems due to warmer temperatures and sewerage problems from flooding.

They also predicted increased rates of skin cancer as warmer weather drew people outside, beneath a continued ozone hole. Increased rates of depression were also likely, as farmers lost their livelihood through climate change, and in victims of increasing environmental disasters.

Lower socio-economic groups are likely to be affected by food and water security, and dengue fever spread through parts of the North Island as it becomes warm enough for the dengue-carrying mosquito to settle there from Australia later in the century.

Refugees from Pacific Islands and other regions would also want to migrate here, requiring more resources within general practices, they said.

They urged less car use to increase physical activity and reduce obesity, cancer and depression; insulated homes to minimise respiratory problems and cutting down on red meat, which can cut greenhouse gases from farms "and at the same time lead to improved rate of cardiovascular disease and bowel cancer".

The doctors also launched a green "toolkit" to encourage doctors to help their patients gain subsidised home insulation and heating, providing information on government subsidies.

It also provides tips for doctors on how to reduce pharmaceutical waste.

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