For several years, doctors and scientists alike have started to notice that death rates are going up during the holiday season, especially in the U.S. and countries that celebrate Christmas. The spike in death rate during what some people would call the most wonderful time of the year has been dubbed The Christmas Effect. A team of researchers in New Zealand believes scientists might have come up with at least one reason as to why more Americans start dying around Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Together with several colleagues from the University of Auckland, Josh Knight looked at the deaths that occurred during the holiday season in New Zealand between 1988 and 2013. The team of researchers says that death rates rose by 4.2 percent around Christmas day, which suggests that the Christmas Effect may be more than just a myth. Hence, the scientists say that nearly four individuals die every year around Christmas from heart failure or heart complications. Their findings have been published on December 22nd, 2016, in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study acknowledges the Christmas Effect which leads to a spike in death rates in the U.S both at New Year’s Day, as well as Christmas Day. Furthermore, another study much similar to the recent survey which was previously conducted in 2004 pointed to a 5 percent increase in U.S. death rates over the end-of-year holiday period.
One potential reason as to why the U.S. population is affected by the Christmas Effect could be represented by the population’s susceptibility to influenza or other diseases during the cold season, say the researchers. According to their discoveries, death rates across America are already seasonably high due to low temperatures.
However, summer in New Zealand does not officially start until December 25th. Hence, low temperatures do not seem to answer the researchers’ questions anymore. However, the scientists came up with other reasons. The increase in U.S. citizens’ death rates can also be traced back to changes in diet or alcohol abuse during the holiday season, according to the researchers. Another reason could also be the shortage of medical personnel during the holidays or even changes in the physical environment such as visiting friends and relatives and traveling.
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