With Climate Change, Health Issues Have Been On Rise in Kashmir

Years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 have proved to be the most challenging years for Kashmiris. People from Kashmir have but “faced” everything with “utmost bravery”. For almost three and a half years, Kashmir has been under constant lockdowns. Be it after the abrogation of Article 370 or be it the COVID-19 lockdowns, Kashmiris have to face some grave issues.

These lockdowns have had a lot of negative impacts on the health of people. People have been affected mentally,physically and emotionally. And to add to their already tough sufferings the sudden change of climate caused some more miseries. Talking to Ground Report on grounds of anonymity a young girl who is 22 years old said, “Before these all lockdowns I was only 55 kgs but now my weight is almost 80 kg. This weight gain has given me so much anxiety and depression that I literally don’t know what to do.” She further went on saying, ” I decided to join a local club, where they help in exercising and everything but to my dismay this sudden rise in the temperature has caused a mess in my life. I cannot go out like for exercising or even for a walk because it is so hot outside. And even if I go sometimes, due to the heat outside I get totally dehydrated.”

The sudden rise in temperature is causing several issues in pertinence to health especially to women. Some doctors are of the opinion that, “Due to the excessive heat outside, women and young girls are facing issues like dehydration, urinary tract infections (UTI), burning sensations, rashes, urine infection etc.”

But the most prevalent issue that almost every female is facing is sunburn caused due to the strong summers. “I have my whole face burnt due to the sun and I have no idea what to do. The sun rays are so piercing and so strong on my skin that my skin literally has started having pigmentation and these pores,” said a woman in her mind twenties to Ground Report.

It is pertinent to mention that the climate changes can also affect reproductive health. Due to the favourable environment for germs to grow there are several health issues that come into light due to the climate change. Also the excessive heat mainly causes dehydration amongst women and young girls and they can develop severe urine infections. Excessive heat also increases the risk of urinary tract infections amongst women.

Besides women, the most affected people in Kashmir are small children. A woman in her mid-thirties and a mother of four children got into a conversation with Ground Report, she said, “I have four young children. My older two are seven and eight years old and younger ones are five years old. They all are down with flu and fever. Since the beginning of the summer this year, my children are not feeling well. And it is not even COVID, it is something else. The temperatures are rising and everyone is suffering one way or the other.”

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The steep rise in temperature has also become a cause of increasing mental health issues in some cases. A girl who wanted to be unidentified told Ground Report, “My brother typically is a cool man but the summer heat is so frustrating that he has started to become short-tempered and I don’t know why.”

Due to the climate change the heatwave is expected to increase multifold which can cause irreplaceable damages to the health sector. Besides this, the heat has become a main cause for headache amongst women.

A girl suffering from epilepsy told Ground Report, “I am epileptic and due to the excessive heat over my head whenever I step out I end up with low BP and a terrible headache that does not go for hours altogether. In past, this did not happen to me as frequently as it does now. And I am agast to my situation to how to react to it. I cannot even eat medicines.”

The climate change has also affected people with migraine alot.

“I feel more tired and weak due to this sudden climate change in Kashmir,” said a girl in her twenties to Ground Report.
Not only that, but allergies, asthma, and infectious disease outbreaks have become more widespread as a result of increased pollen-producing weed growth, increased air pollution, and the proliferation of circumstances favourable to pathogens and mosquitoes.

An old woman in her mid seventies while conversing with Ground Report recalled, “During my youth everything was so fine in Kashmir. It is basically a cold place. Even during Summers in villages in particular people used to wear warm clothes during evenings the temperature was so cool. But now everything has had a paradigm shift. Everything has become so hot. In my youth I used to enjoy summers but now they have become unbearable for me. I now keep the windows of my bedroom open. The headache leaves me with heat flushes and it becomes painful.”

Experts and doctors are of the belief that drinking sufficient water and to keep oneself hydrated can help in tackling this crises. They also suggest that women, in particular, should make it a point to maintain their hygiene.

Kashmir has always been known for its climate and pleasing weather but due the increase in global warming the temperature here is also rising. Due the the climate changes people are facing alot of issues. Be it health or be it about the lifestyle. And it surely is raising many eyebrows now, people are now seeking relief by visiting higher reaches to spend their weekends away from the scorching heat of the city.

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