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Environment & Climate Change

Health experts say kids are more vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather events

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Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
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Public health experts want us to pay more attention to the effects of climate change on kids.

Madeleine Thomson is a senior research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, and she teaches at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

She says kids are much more vulnerable to climate-related disasters, like floods, droughts and heat waves.

"There’s a lack of awareness in the broader community how children need specific interventions that target them in particular," she says. "If you don’t target children, then they will definitely suffer disproportionately."

For example, kids are more vulnerable to dehydration and heat stress.

"Our primary recommendation was really to bring together an international consortium of experts that can be established with either someone like the World Health Organization or UNICEF to develop adoptable medical and behavioral protocols, and to set a research agenda that really identifies the needs of children and how they should be met," says Thomson.

She says that group could then develop a set of practices to take better care of children when extreme weather events happen.

You can learn more about these recommendations in Thomson's article in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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