Report: Global warming makes kids sick

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers, Big Kids, Health & Safety: Babies

A two-year study just completed by the University of Sydney claims that temperature rises have a significant impact on the number of preschoolers visiting emergency rooms with complaints of fever and gastroenteritis. The study, conducted at a major children's hospital, showed that for every five degree rise in the temperature, two more children under the age of six were admitted to that hospital with fever.

"And now global warming is becoming more apparent, it is highly likely an increasing number of young children will be turning up at hospital departments with these kinds of common illnesses," said researcher Lawrence Lam, a pediatrics specialist.

Dr. Lam says that children are more vulnerable to climate changes than older people because they are less able to regulate their bodies against temperature changes. He says that in children, the brain's thermal regulation mechanism is less developed than in an adult, thus making their bodies overheat more easily.

The study analyzed several different climate factors collected from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in 2001 and 2002. The results showed that temperature was the only negative risk factor, linking higher temperatures to fever and gastro disease in young children. Respiratory conditions did not appear to be affected by hotter temperatures.

This is the first study to make the connection between climate changes and children's health. While it is still unclear whether the heat directly triggered the illnesses or whether other problems like pollution were responsible, Dr. Lam urges longer-term studies to strengthen the findings.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.