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Dec 31, 2020
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The deadliest days of the year

Alcohol and unnatural death

On the first day of the year, about 2.2 thousand more people die in Russia than on average every day of the cold season. From January 1 to January 17, the number of additional deaths reaches 9-12 thousand, the second peak of deaths occurs at Christmas. This was shown by a study conducted by Alexander Nemtsov, Doctor of Medicine, from the Federal Medical Research Center for Psychiatry and Narcology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. The scientist analyzed the data from 2004 to 2016.

Nemtsov believes that the main reason for this surge in mortality is alcohol consumption. It can be associated with injuries, accidents, murders, alcoholic psychosis and even respiratory illness. It is known that on New Year’s Eve the chance of being under the wheels of a car increases dramatically.

However, other studies show that even without alcohol on New Year’s, mortality remains abnormally high.

Non-alcoholic death on New Year’s

During the New Year holidays, an increased mortality rate remains, even if we exclude murders, disasters and deaths from the statistics, which are associated with alcohol, drugs, exposure to cold, pneumonia, and influenza. This showed a study that scientists from the University of California published in 2010. They analyzed 57 million death certificates issued in the United States from 1979 to 2004.

The authors suggest that people are more likely to die during the New Year and Christmas holidays because they postpone doctor visits, and hospitals lack staff during the winter break.

Hearty Christmas

On New Year’s and Christmas, there are peaks in mortality from diseases of the cardiovascular system. Overall, more people die from this cause in winter than in summer. However, the spike that falls on the holidays comes independently of this. Scientists have established this by examining data from New Zealand, in which the New Year falls in the summer. The same study showed that people who die from heart attacks and strokes these days are, on average, younger than those who die from these causes on other days.

Scientists suggest that the increase in “heart” mortality during the holidays is associated with the following reasons:

  • People impermissibly delay seeking medical attention when they feel symptoms of illness.
  • During the holidays, hospitals do not have enough staff to provide quality care.
  • People allow themselves too much on the holidays: they overeat, eat a lot of fatty and salty foods, drink alcohol.
  • Emotional stress, which, among other things, can be associated with work issues.

Added to these factors are conditions that have been associated with increased cardiovascular mortality throughout the cold season:

  • Increased incidence of influenza and ARVI.
  • Shortening of daylight hours.
  • Cold weather.

Thus, in order not to strengthen the sad New Year statistics, it is advisable to follow several rules:

  • when symptoms of illness appear, do not postpone seeking help;
  • during a festive feast, show moderation in both alcohol consumption and food.
  • avoid stress as much as possible on the eve of the holidays.


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