Concern is growing about the effects of climate change on human health - from air pollution to disease outbreaks linked to extreme weather such as floods, prompting the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to hold its first Health Day.

Here’s what you need to know about climate change and health:

Around the world, healthcare experts say climate change is exacerbating various health problems - both directly, in the case of heat-related deaths or wildfire injuries, and indirectly, for example through an increase in disease related to extreme weather like floods.

Water-transmitted infectious illnesses such as cholera can become more problematic as temperatures and precipitation patterns become more extreme, while standing water can fuel the spread of diseases like malaria and dengue fever that are spread by mosquitoes.

Malnutrition, made worse by protracted droughts and other extreme weather events such as floods, is also hitting human health.

Air pollution stemming from the burning of fossil fuels causes more than 6.5 million deaths a year globally, a figure that is rising, according to a study published last year in the Lancet Planetary Health journal.

Climate change is also increasing the probability of another major virus-related event such as the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly as deforestation worsens, bringing people and wild animals in closer contact.

On top of that, the impacts of global warming are also linked to mental health distress as they cause poverty, displacement and food insecurity.

Marginalised communities and the poor bear the brunt of climate-induced health burdens, Lujain Alqodmani, president of the World Medical Association, told Context by email.

“These groups often lack adequate resources and infrastructure to mitigate or adapt to climate-related risks, making them disproportionately susceptible to adverse health outcomes,” she said.

Read the full article about climate change and health by Thomson Reuters Foundation at Eco-Business.