Holiday season and not chilly weather causes spike in deaths: study

Holiday season and not chilly weather causes spike in deaths: study

A new study has suggested that it is not the chilly winter that causes a notable spike in heart-related deaths at Christmas and New Year’s; rather it is the holiday season itself.

For years, researchers have being noticing a spike in deaths in the United States and other countries right around the holiday season. While many believe that harsh, cold weather might be the reason, the new study by a team of Australian researchers suggested that the holiday season might be the real culprit.

In the new study, the researchers found an increase of more than 4 per cent in heart-related deaths between Dec. 25 through Jan. 7 in New Zealand, where December and January mark the height of summer. It proved that the increase in those deaths was not caused by cold weather.

Lead researcher Josh Knight, of University of Melbourne, said, “The Christmas effect that has been seen in the northern hemisphere winter is able to be seen during the summer also. This means that there is a risk associated with the holiday period independent of the seasonality.”

The results of the new study opened a new topic to debate -- why the holidays boost heart-related deaths?

Various possible explanations for the mortality holiday effect include greater emotional stress, changes in diet and alcohol consumption, and less staff at medical facilities.

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