Climate change and ozone depletion means the elements that touch our skin are changing, and becoming less friendly. There are new variations in solar radiation, circulations of the seas, and increases in pollution and greenhouse gases, and increases in earth’s temperature, less rain, humidity shifts, and extreme weather events are some of the consequences. What is not being routinely studied is the impacts of these changes on skin and disease.
Skin cancers and the ozone layer
Depletion of the ozone layer is one of our main concerns, with the gaping holes contributing to increases in melanoma and other skin cancers – it has been postulated that a rise of two degrees Celsius could increase the carcinogenic properties of solar UFwV by up to 10 per cent.
Warmth, cold, and diseases
Weather changes are wreaking havoc in some areas, with disease outbreaks a problem. El Niño (the warm phase) is associated with solar keratosis (scaly skin patches), tinea, folliculitis, rosacea, dermatitis caused by infection, and a selection of viruses. La Niña (the cold phase) is associated with chickenpox, foot-and-mouth disease, and some viruses, but decreases in wart viruses and certain parasites.
Pollen season is set to change its onset, duration, and intensity, resulting in respiratory problems and allergy symptoms.
Asthma rates are set to increase as air pollution and airborne infections trigger immune reactions. The incidences of eczema and other skin problems may increase too.
If there was anything that the latest outbreak of Ebola taught us, it’s that it can and will happen, and that hotter areas typically suffer the most. Zika is the next outbreak on the loose, often in warmer areas with high humidity.
Bacteria and fungi
Any microbe that loves it warm and wet will thrive, as conditions continue to heat up in certain areas.
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