- The effect of holidays have a direct effect on death.
- Natural causes account for 93% of all mortality, while external causes account for only 7% on Christmas and New Year.
- There are reasons to suspect the existence of these holiday spikes in deaths from natural causes because medical care may worsen around the holidays.
Deaths spike for the two weeks around Christmas and the New Year, according to a study conducted by the University of California.
Despite the fact that most people spend January 1 fighting off hangovers and sleeping, research has revealed that today is actually the most dangerous day of the year.
‘Though the reason remains unclear, in the two weeks starting with Christmas, there is an excess of 42,325 deaths from natural causes above and beyond the normal winter increase.’
Researchers examined death certificates issued over a period of 25 years in the US and found that the day you're most likely to die of natural causes is the first of the new year, January 1.
Many studies had already determined an increase in deaths related to self harm, accidents, and homicide around the holidays, but none relating to natural causes of death.
Natural causes are determined to be people dying of illness, old age and disease, but not from accidents or homicide.
The study authors therefore investigated and found a significant trend, with 5 percent more people dying on January 1 from natural causes than on any other day.
While this fact was easily established with data, the reason why this occurs is unknown.
"This pattern turns up in every natural cause of death, but not for external causes like auto accidents," said David Phillips, the study author.
While the conclusion of the study recommended more research be done in the area, to date no more findings have been published.
"It's not only a mystery, but a mystery that people haven't even tried to engage with," Phillips said.
So if you're feeling unwell on New Year's Day, especially if you are suffering from an illness, maybe get yourself to a hospital, just in case.
- David Phillips et al., Christmas and New Year as risk factors for death, Social Science and Medicine (2010)