7 Times Of Year You're More Likely To Die Out Of The Blue
We all know there are certain periods that really have it out for some people. July is a bad month for hay fever sufferers, winter is rough on old folks, and Valentine's Day is a massacre for the chronically forgetful. But that's only the stuff that's easy to notice. When we look at statistics, they reveal that there are many more hidden ways that the time of year (or even day) can ruin your mood, your body, or even your life. For example ...
Christmas Is Still The Deadliest Time Of The Year
The holiday season is the jolliest season of the year, a time when people are filled with good cheer, love, and enough MSG to put a small buffalo into a coma. Christmas will also absolutely fucking kill you. A BBC study found that deaths can increase by 10-15 percent during this time of the year. And death has its pick of how it's going to do it, too.
For example, having a giant ball drop on you.
What's behind Door #1? Heart disease! The mortality rate from heart disease and other natural (Dorito-induced) cardiac failures seems to increase between Christmas and about a week after New Year's Day. Some scientists thought it might be because of the cold weather relentlessly assaulting our immune systems, but it turns out a similar spike happens in New Zealand, which celebrates the holidays during the face-melting part of summer. Not only that, but the people who die from cardiac disease around Christmas tend to be nearly a year younger on average than people who die of heart disease at any other time. A somewhat positive theory is that many patients on their way out are hanging on long enough to enjoy one last holiday with their families, then they remember that January always sucks and kick the bucket.
"I never get anything nice for MLK day, anyway."
Door # 2: car crashes! Everyone knows that shopping around the holidays can be murder, but the real fatalities start happening on the way home. All that post-mall stress gets inadvertently taken out on other drivers. According to research done by State Farm, 32 percent of drivers have a tendency to become more aggressive during the holiday season, as their brains stew over long lines, high prices, and the hundredth time hearing "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," and they stop focusing. The study also noted that parents and people under 49 are particularly susceptible to this, which we can't help but notice is the majority of human beings on Earth. Way to narrow it down, State Farm.
It's almost like an insurance company has an interest in making us all fear death or something.
Door #3: You'll accidentally shoot yourself, you stupid asshole! Between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day is a particularly bad time for handling a gun, as eggnog, hot metal, and our fleshy bits don't mix well. And the victims aren't your drunk uncle or racist grandma, either; the average age of gun fatalities during the season is 19. Guns are given as gifts by the thousands, people are more likely to go hunting, children are out of school and figuring out the latch on the gun cabinet, or some teenager got snuck enough brandy to feel like showing off this awesome trick you saw on the YouTubes.
Plus, there are always intruders to shoot around Christmastime.
So next holiday season, if you decide to practice juggling your pistols, make sure only one of you is loaded.
Your Marriage Will Probably End In March Or August
Getting divorced seems like one of those things that happens all of the time, because hating your spouse is a 24/7 kinda deal, but it turns out that the divorce industry has its own peak months, like any other business. According to a new paper from the University of Washington, the divorce rate has odd peaks in March and August, making one of the most loveless statistics also look a cute picture of an owl.
"Hoooo ... is going to get custody of the kids?"
It's not that couples suddenly hate each other more as the seasons change -- there's nothing that tops pre-divorce hate, anyway. But scientists think that a couple's willingness to not give up on their marriage waxes and wanes throughout the year. Around Christmas or Valentine's Day, married couples are clinging to the hope that they can turn things around during the holidays, and they also don't want to upset their families over the holidays by announcing a divorce, unaware that it's the one thing everyone was hoping to get as a gift in the first place.
Once March rolls around and they've dispensed with the illusion of true love, they end up filing for divorce. The same applies to summer vacations, which tend to happen in July. Vacations are often stressful to the point of further damaging already-strained marriages, especially if they have to take a plane and one of them forgets one of the suitcases in the goddamned car, Carol!
So if you ever find yourself needing to end your marriage, try to do it around Halloween to definitely beat the city hall rush.
Plus, the kids are back for the summer, and let's be honest, the divorce is their fault.
Fatal Medication Errors Spike In July
"Rookie doctor" is one of those word combinations that makes people fear the worst, like "sleepy pilot" or "pushy clown." But we all have to start somewhere, and mistakes will be made -- we'd all just prefer that they weren't made with our tender bodies. So do yourself a favor and don't get sick during the summer. Because in July, school's out and the rookie doctors are in.
Time for wacky hijinks and steamy romances! And also they kill you.
The researchers found that in July, your chances of being killed by mixed-up medications increases by about 10 percent. But only in counties with teaching hospitals -- those without saw no change. This isn't some momentary blip in the data, either; these statistics come from a study that looked at all U.S. deaths related to medication errors between 1979 and 2006. That's over 62 million cases across 28 years, which is ... fine? Yeah, let's pretend like that isn't a scarily high number.
Stay home. No deaths from medical errors there.
Long story long, July is the month when lots of medical residencies start, and teaching hospitals find themselves hosting lots of brand-new faces fresh out of medical school, doe-eyed and not very experienced yet in the powerful curative magicks that keep us tied to this mortal coil. That's why big-ticket errors -- like wrongly amputated limbs, missed tumors, or patients catching fire -- don't see an uptick in July. But every now and then, a tired 20-something will accidentally turn someone's blood into a milkshake instead of thinning it. So if you go in for a routine checkup and your doctor's voice is still changing, you better hope there's snow the window, because otherwise, you'll leave in a body bag.
Strokes Are Affected By The Time Of Day/Year
Medically speaking, a stroke occurs when the brain either doesn't get enough blood (an ischaemic stroke) or starts hemorrhaging blood (a hemorrhagic stroke), because our most vital organ is pickier than Goldilocks when it comes to blood flow. But there a few simple steps to reduce the risk of getting a stroke. All you have to do is eat less, stop smoking -- oh, and blink out of existence during specific hours of the day. Easy.
Also, there's nothing erotic about a "stroke," in case you were wondering.
According to a Japanese study, the risk of a stroke can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the time of day. Ischaemic stroke risks increase between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., ironically the time when you're most likely to really smell burnt toast. Meanwhile, hemorrhagic stroke risks increase between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., because it seems strokes work in shifts for maximum efficiency. But besides not wanting to upset employers by making John from accounting collapse during business hours, strokes also don't want your romantic partners to wake up next to a corpse, as the stroke risk tends to be at its lowest when you're asleep. So the cure for strokes is clear: Work from home and never take off your pajamas. No Cracked writer has ever died from a stroke. Scurvy, however ...
We thought there was vitamin C in the orange stuff.
But at least time is something you can set your watch to. You know what's a lot more fickle? The weather. Cold weather can constrict blood vessels, thus making it harder for your body's miracle juice to move through your veins and making it more likely to form a clot. This clot can move up to your brain and give you a stroke, causing you to do things like buy items on QVC. So good news for people in Texas: Hot weather will ... also give you a stroke, due to blood clot risks from dehydration. The major difference is that if you have a stroke from cold weather, you're more likely to be hospitalized or die from it, because the world is a bit crueler when it's cold.
Super Bowl Season Is Also Heart Attack Season
Pro-athletes might seem to be the picture of health, but only because that picture isn't an X-ray. The average football player has so many injuries, ailments, and so much brain damage that they'd be better off throwing themselves from a set of stairs every morning instead of going to practice. But it's not just the people on the field giving it 110 percent; even the people sitting at home giving the other -10 percent are at risk of suffering sports-induced injuries. Specifically, their hearts will stop working.
And not from the food.
This isn't a guaranteed annual thing, like how Christmas will put a bullet in you -- it only happens when a sporting event is both very close and high-stakes. Heart attacks increased by 15 percent for men and 27 percent for women in 1980, when the Pittsburgh Steelers staged an amazing fourth-quarter comeback to win the Super Bowl. But when the Raiders rightfully beat the tar out of the tackily named Redskins in 1984, there was not a noticeable increase in heart attacks. There was, however, a marked increase in unbearable smugness among Raider fans.
Look at that smirking one-eyed son of a bitch.
This was also observed in soccer fans during intense World Cup matches. In 2006, when Germany was playing in the tournament, there was more than double the number of heart attacks among German viewers. Apparently, the stress of losing, combined with the time limit, makes the body freak out a lot more than usual. Don't worry, though, because this effect doesn't happen to everyone who watches sports; it's only observed in people who have diabetes or high blood pressure, or people who spend long periods of time angrily sitting in front of the TV or computer.
Yikes, eSports are going to wipe Nerddom out in less than a generation.
You're More Likely To Commit Suicide In The Spring
It's commonly accepted that people are more likely to kill themselves around Christmastime -- there's something about a holiday that punches everyone in the gut about how important family and togetherness is that really does a number on the lonely and clinically unlikable -- but it's not true. In fact, the end-of-year holidays are when suicides are at their lowest. In reality, the most depressing time of year is not the most obvious, what with it being associated with birth, warmth, and joy.
But also bees. Lots of bees.
Around the end of the year, people who would otherwise commit suicide are either around their families, which makes the act less likely, or they're holed up in their apartments and not interacting with other people, which makes them feel less bad. Which is the same reason that once spring rolls around, all bets are off again. Once the snow clears and the world comes back to life, suicide rates spike by around 15 percent compared to the rest of the year, making it the most suicide-prone season.
At first glance, it doesn't make much sense. Spring is when the snow melts, plants show themselves, and the sun starts shining -- all of which does tend to boost our mood from seasonal depression to seasonal constantly-unsure-whether-to-bring-a-scarf-or-not. But that doesn't help us with the real issue, which is that other people bum us the hell out. When spring arrives, we're all expected to get out of our hidey holes and talk to more people, which introduces more stress and frustration into our lives. Luckily, in many countries, this trend is starting to disappear, as seasonal jobs like farm work (where you work less during the winter) are increasingly replaced with office jobs, where you have to suffer your co-workers a full 12 months out of the year.
And hearing about synergistic cross-platform integration makes your brain too numb to think of ways to die.
But writers simply refuse to roll with the changes and are still pushing the now doubly outdated Christmas suicide myth -- which some experts fear might encourage people to take the plunge just based on the idea that it must be true. So remember, everyone: Instead of repeating urban legends about the holidays, try punching a journalist instead.
April Showers Bring May Flowers ... And Explode Your Appendix
While we recently discovered that the appendix is actually not completely useless, most people still more as a Russian Roulette game built into our bodies. Every once in a while, the powers that be randomly point at someone on the planet, say "Fuck'em," and doom them to appendicitis, which could lead to peritonitis and even death if not treated. But it turns out that the timer on that ticking time bomb isn't as random as we might think, seeing as how there's an Appendicitis Season.
To clarify, this is not the season for shooting appendixes.
One study taken in Ghana revealed that appendicitis happened more often between the months of April and July, which is also Ghana's rainy season. That's not a coincidence. The same effect was observed in Finland -- as humidity increases, the countdown to an appendix meltdown start ticking down more quickly. Geez, we know that people can feel the coming rain in their bones, but it's quite the meteorological certainty if your internal organs start feeling at the sight of a mild drizzle.
Haha, not so perfect now, are you Finland?
But it's not damp clothes that cause this bump, but runny noses. Scientists theorize that it's the greater prevalence of allergens and bacteria in the air during wet and warm weather which affects the appendix and can cause it to become inflamed if you're extremely unlucky. This also suggests that appendicitis is the worst possible symptom of allergies, which certainly puts our sniffles and swollen eyes into perspective.
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