2018 Japan Floods

Why Climate Change Is Fast Becoming a Medical Emergency

The move to Los Angeles back in the early fall of 2015 was supposed to be the extension of a love affair, that began a little over a decade ago, when I was so sure that my future as a development executive was securely waiting for my overdue arrival.

The TV career didn’t happen, but what I did manage to do, was to cement a thriving relationship with a city that treated me kindly. Against my best wishes, I returned to New York City after only a couple of years, and that happened because like most abusive relationships, the victim always believes they need to do better in order to curb the blows.

It took me another a decade to finally give up my toxic relationship with New York, and beg L.A. for another chance with the hopes that I was still appealing enough to take back — despite being older and not necessarily wiser.

The second time around proved to be a major dud. The adjustment period was a lot more challenging, and the piled up years had turned me into someone who didn’t want to be stuck at the offices of The Hollywood Reporter at past midnight — staging a bunch of tweets about stuff that I used to give a shit about back in 2005.

The other major dent in this ill-fated comeback, was the onset of an aggressive form of allergies that took hold in late 2016, and advanced into a crippling state of mind as 2017 unfolded.

Truth be told, I enjoyed the blessing of good health for most of my adult life, and despite the childhood bouts with malaria and a terrible case of typhoid fever — a consequence of growing up in Nigeria — I never suffered from any other debilitating diseases. Allergies were always around me in the form of others who complained about it, and while I empathized with their plight, it never occurred to me that my forties would leave me vulnerable.

As soon as I turned forty — the symptoms became a reality, and at first I assumed it was an annoying cold that wouldn’t go away, but then my doctor confirmed that I had a mild case of seasonal allergies. When I asked why I was randomly added to the club nobody wants to belong to, she explained that allergic reactions can happen at any stage of life.

Fair enough, I had already started experiencing the consequences of a being “a woman of a certain age”, so it made sense that the malfunctions would run the gamut.

So as it turns out, my stagnant career wasn’t the only thing holding me hostage in Los Angeles, as my allergies skyrocketed into a full blown hysteria, that thoroughly disorganized my faculties on a daily basis. From the moment I stepped outside, the impossibly dry air welcomed my presence with a gritty reception — that would initiate a violent attack.

Before long, I was dependent on Claritin for survival, and when my body began to reject the daily dosage, I made the switch to Zyrtec. And then the maddening phase got even more heightened as my symptoms grew worse over time, and I became hooked on a cocktail that would sometimes fail me — which meant spending the day with sneezing fests, runny nose that led to congestion — and the never-ending feeling of exhaustion.

The remote editorial gig that I scored in late spring filled me with the hope that I would be spending more time indoors, which would spare me from the threats of outdoor exposure. But, staying in the sublet that happened to have poor ventilation because of where it was situated, didn’t decrease the attacks, and instead escalated my predicament.

The conditions were very hot and very dry, which created a toxic situation that finally erupted in the the raging fires that overtook the landscape of Southern California in late 2017.

It was a far cry from the “epic rain season” of 2004–2005 that was so relentless — it ended up washing away multi-million dollar homes located on the Hills, due to dangerous mud slides. One of the producers at the production company where I was interning — had to rush back home from his overseas trip once he received word about the roof of his house — caving in.

I had never seen that amount of rainfall in all my life. Literally every day was greeted with skies that were bursting with precipitation, and the release lasted all day into the night. It felt like residents were participating in a revival of Noah’s Ark, except the punishment lasted longer than 40 days and 40 nights.

Fast forward to the present, and the exact opposite was happening. The epic dry season of 2016–2017 was both hostile and evidential of a greater issue.

Climate change is a topic that a lot more of us should take rather seriously, because aside from the erratic weather patterns that exaggerate the normalcy of such occurrences, there’s also the medical emergencies that are a resultant of extreme conditions.

Before my late-onset of allergies, I respected the argument for climate change based on the energetic discussions and observations, that present proof we can’t deny. You also pay attention to what’s erupting both at home and abroad, and gather your summation of how these events are being activated in response to future catastrophes.

But now that my health has become a cause for concern as I continue to be tormented by the effects of allergy attacks that range are getting more aggressive, I have no choice but to investigate how this lifelong condition is manifested through the channels of weather alerts.

I found out that based on a study that was performed in 2010, by the collaboration of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA) and the National Wildlife Federation — climate change is invariably having a daunting effect on those of us who are asthma and allergy sufferers.

I recently spent a whole week and part of the weekend, succumbing to the rage of a sinus migraine that was sprung from a severe allergy attack that required a higher than normal dosage of antibiotics. I had initially tried to combat the fucker with Allegra D, but a couple of days later, I was walking around like a drunken zombie. The doctor at the nearby clinic consoled me with the truth of how extra bad the pollen count has been — this season.

And according to the report by the AAFA and National Wildlife Federation:

Rising temperatures caused by climate change lead to longer allergy seasons and worsen air quality. Long allergy seasons can cause more allergies and asthma attacks.


Between 1995 and 2011, warmer temperatures in the U.S. have caused the pollen season to be 11 to 27 days longer. These warmer temperatures create more pollen in the air, stronger airborne allergens and more allergy symptoms.

This explains why I had such a terrifically uncomfortable period in the one and a half years that I spent in Los Angeles, that ended with the great escape back to the East Coast — in the fall of 2017. The incredibly hot weather system that showcased little to no rain made the air quality less than tolerable, and this induced a reaction beyond anything I thought was possible.

As 2018 makes its way past the middle mark, we’ve already been privy to how the rest of the world is faring in these challenging times.

The state of Arizona is also melting under a record setting heat wave, that has given cities like Tucson and Phoenix their longest streak in history. The dangerously hot conditions have also affected air travel as precautionary measures are forcing planes to remain grounded. It’s so bloody hot that even the tap water is boiling.

Japan is currently sweltering under a record-breaking heatwave, that comes on the heels of torrential downpours that caused — “devastating floods and mudflows” — killing a whopping 225 people with 13 still missing. The 2018 Japan Floods has been categorized as the deadliest disaster since 1982’s Nagasaki flood. And the now scorching temps has also proven deadly with 44 people lives lost — since July 9.

The United Kingdom is also experiencing hotter than usual temps — as certain areas rise above 92 degrees — which is currently steamier than the shores of Miami, Florida!

Other parts of Europe are also reaching the boiling point, as places like Sweden, Poland, Latvia, Finland and most recently Greece, are under siege from the frighteningly dry and blistery conditions, which are causing massive fires across the withering landscapes.

The globe has evolved into a rotating burning inferno as even the continent of Africa is also being ridden by record breaking heat waves as the Algerian city of Ouargla — posted a scarily high temperature of “124.3 degrees Fahrenheit,” which has officially produced the “hottest measured temperature on record in Africa” to date.

As we struggle to understand why the planet is getting too hot for comfort — we have to consider pertinent analysis taken from the logbook of Natural Climate Change — that illustrates why these notable events that are scorching the earth and grazing greenery to smithereens — should be attributed to “human-driven climate change” as opposed to “natural viability.”

The recent dramatic volcanic eruptions that have paralyzed parts of Hawaii, Guatemala, and Indonesia have given us plenty to ponder — as we examine the likelihood that perhaps natural elements are revolting against mood swings — that the climate is furiously exhibiting as response to mismanagement. And of course the atmospheric pressure that follows these volcanoes can present life-threatening situations.

But the experts seem convinced that the volcanoes of 2018 are unrelated, and that we generally have nothing to worry about since “volcanoes are frequently erupting.” In fact at any given time, there are at least “10–20 volcanoes in eruption around the world, we just don’t hear about them.”

So maybe, 2018 happened to be the year when volcanoes decided to re-affirm their magnificence in a grand way, and considering the locations of choice, it expectedly became headline news. But we can’t afford to downplay what this potentially means in the grand scheme of things.

Climate change is real, and can no longer be regulated to a vaguely entertaining phenomenon, because not only are lives being lost in the turbulence of dire weather forecasts, but people like me who are alive, are not at all well, when we’re faced with the callousness of overheated air that boasts no chance of rain — indefinitely.

And even if we escape the long-standing drought of Los Angeles — we run into the high pollen season of another area — that has been extended long enough to wreck havoc on our already fragile immunity.

The good news is that there are ways to try and minimize the impact of climate change on your physical and mental state, and the top items on the list is to of course seek the advice of your doctor — who can instruct you on how to avoid certain places or situations, while also noting the Air Quality Index in your area.

For me, this ongoing health crisis has forced me to take the topic of climate change very seriously. In the past year, I’ve depleted my funds in an effort to sustain a quality of life that I used to take for granted. At one point, while I was still in Los Angeles — I went into panic mode when the congestion that suddenly presented itself — caused serious breathing problems. I immediately stormed the ER of a Southern California hospital, and within minutes it was determined that all I needed was an over- the-counter decongestant.

Once the ER bill arrived, I bitterly regretted that decision. My quick visit was coded in a way that made my case seem way more threatening, in order to justify the ridiculous amount I was charged. I’m in the process of disputing it.

The point is that I have no choice but to monitor the last half of my life amidst the disarray of unpredictable weather patterns. I’m committed to doing my part in preserving the harmony of our environment. It starts by supporting the efforts of policymakers who are actively involved in solving this life-altering crisis.

Despite the Trump administration doing its utter best to downplay the validity of global warming, with the president using crazily disjointed examples in an effort to mock the genesis of this very potent event — I refuse to believe that its existence is a complete hoax.

Sometimes, it takes having a personal stake in something that affects us all — in order to incite action on a passionate level. Now, that I’m certain about how climate change is attacking my health on a daily basis, I feel a sense of responsibility to take a keen interest in how it all works and what can be done to secure a win for future generations.

This fight is personal.

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