Day 3 of National Public Health Week: Environmental Health

It’s Day 3 of National Public Health Week!  Today we are discussing one of the most pressing public health issues: Environmental Health.

Several conditions affect our life that are sometimes out of our control: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat.[i]  That’s why it’s essential to protect and improve our environmental health standards.

Environmental health is the branch of public health that focuses on the relationships between people and their environment; promotes human health and well-being; and fosters healthy and safe communities.[ii]

WellShare’s Community Health Worker Peer Network offered a workshop on the health impacts of climate change in Minnesota with information provided by representatives of the Environmental Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Health.  The workshop participants learned how to look out for vulnerable people such as older adults and small children, as well as people who suffer from health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or breathing issues. The participants shared stories on how they or their clients have been affected by climate change and talked about their greatest concerns.

Here are 5 ways to protect you and your family’s health:

  1. Prepare for heat waves: Stay hydrated, stay cool and stay informed! More information here (Heat Tips sheets are available in English, Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Karen and Oromo): www.health.mn.gov/heatplanning.
  2. Prepare for poor air quality days: You can sign up for Minnesota air quality alerts here: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/current-air-quality.
  3. Drive less: Whenever possible, take public transportation, ride your bike or walk instead of driving to reduce greenhouse gases (the main cause of climate change). The additional exercise will help you stay healthy as well.
  4. Lower your “Food-Print”: Eating less meat and having a diet high in local and seasonal vegetables and whole grains reduces greenhouse gases, saves money and is healthier for you and your family. You can calculate your carbon food-print here.
  5. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: Think about how to reduce consumption. Adopting more green practices like recycling and reusing items not only reduces the amount of money you spend, but also the amount of waste you produce which will reduce your carbon footprint.

Watch the full video below:

Do you have any questions concerning the health impacts of climate change? Contact Minnesota’s Climate & Health Program at health.climatechange@state.mn.us

References:

[i] http://www.health.state.mn.us/eh

[ii] https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/environmental-health

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