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Everyone is going to die! Okay, okay that’s not news but a just released research report has shown that this coming three weeks has the highest risk for Americans to die, and that is news. Christmas is a supposed to be a happy-time with revisiting old friends and family, gift giving and parties, and so one would expect it would be a time for renewal of the life force and for a new vigor to be permeating the country. Unfortunately, Phillips, Barker and Brewer reported otherwise in the journal, Social Science & Medicine . They analyzed 57.5-million American death certificates and published their findings which was reported as news to the National Post and there I found it.

Average death of Americans by day compiled for years

American death certificates compiled for 25 years and 57 million deaths.

The researchers claimed there was a spike in holiday season deaths that was not attributable to seasonal weather. Looking at the chart they provided above, it would appear that the seasonal spike to which they are referring would be the area above the red horizontal line. (The red and green additions are drawn in by me.) The winter weather and flu season appears to be the February base line at 1.1 which they claim is surpassed by the holiday factors and not weather.

It would appear obvious that the holidays have many independent and synergisticly combining factors which create the annual spike. The scientists said they couldn’t pick out a single causal factor but inexplicably they didn’t say it seems to be a combination of all of them; they seemed to be implying it might be something else.  It’s obvious that each independent stressor compounds the stress caused by any other stressor, if it is present. For example, it is obvious that driving a car has a risk associated with it, combine that with an independent risk factor such as alcohol consumption and there is an obvious increased risk of death. Now combine those with the additionally difficulties of winter weather a stressor to life all by itself and they all combine to be worse in their effects added up independently. Combine all of those with driving long distances to visit family members and there is even more risk. Combined these together and they become not a simple addition of risk but a multiple of risk with each new factor. When a number of other risks are added like, winter flu, a cell phone, kids in the car, hurry-up attitude, denser traffic, loss of sleep from the turmoil and much, much more and so the person becomes over stressed and accidents happen. The holidays are just too much for some bodies to endure.

April Fools day is the holiday we should be celebrating. April 1st is when deaths and stress has been consistently falling for weeks and we can look forward to six months of pleasantly lower risks and fewer deaths. We should quietly rejoice from mid July to mid September, seen under the green line from the lower stress and increase in life expectancy. When October does come along things are still fine but then it all slowly gets worse, peaking on New Years day. The bulk of excess deaths are in January and February so we should be especially careful during those winter months to take good care of ourselves and avoid excess stress and risks and manage carefully our drinking and driving.

To live long and prosper you must avoid getting killed.