NEW YORK — From rising temperatures and heat waves to its impact on mental health, three in four Americans are worried about climate change.
A new survey of 2,000 Americans asked for their thoughts on climate change and its impact on their health and found 74 percent are actively worried about climate change – while 22 percent don’t believe in it.
Climate change affecting the body and mind?
The aspects of climate change believers are most worried about include rising temperatures (34%), heatwaves (32%), melting ice caps (30%), and floods (30%). With all of this in mind, those who believe in climate change also shared that they’re worried about its immediate impact on their mental health (73%) and their physical health (71%).
Respondents shared they’re regularly experiencing seasonal allergies (52%), stress and anxiety (52%), and trouble sleeping (50%). For those who believe in climate change (just over 1,500 respondents), things seem to be getting worse. Nearly seven in 10 even think it’s already impacting their physical health (68%) and mental health (66%).
Furthermore, of those polled who believe in climate change and are indeed worried about it (just over 1,400 respondents), 70 percent agree climate change is a top contributor to their stress and 81 percent are worried about its impact on future generations.
Conducted on behalf of Flonase by OnePoll, the survey delved into the various health implications Americans are experiencing parallel to their concerns about climate change.
Seven in 10 of those with seasonal allergies specifically noted that, in the last five years, their symptoms have gotten worse and 84 percent say they have no idea why.
Survey results indicate that seasonal allergies are the top health issue respondents experience that are already being impacted by climate change (24%), followed by their stress and anxiety (19%), trouble sleeping (12%), and depression (11%).
“It’s no surprise people are noticing their seasonal allergies getting worse over the years,” says Megan Bruggeman, a former meteorologist and Flonase spokesperson, in a statement. “According to research from PNAS, rising temperatures have extended allergy season by 20 days and increased pollen counts by roughly 20 percent in the last 30 years.”
Additionally, 70 percent of those with seasonal allergies often downplay the severity of their symptoms. In fact, 69 percent of those who experience things like migraines and seasonal allergies often associate these ailments with just having a bad day, rather than a health concern.
Respondents only see their health concerns worsening alongside climate change over the next 10 years – with seasonal allergies (26%), stress and anxiety (19%), and trouble sleeping (13%) topping the list again.
“Every year, I have more and more patients coming in and asking for my help to fight off the invisible monsters that are pollen and allergy symptoms,” says pediatrician and Flonase spokesperson, Dr. Monica Mehta. “It’s interesting to see that 68 percent of respondents were aware of the rising temperature’s impact on seasonal allergies. It’s important that my patients understand the effects climate change is having on their everyday health and will continue to have – even if we can’t see it.”