Every winter, during and after the holidays, the death rates increase, creating a strange phenomenon. Experts have always known that during winter the numbers of deaths increase, but they still can’t explain why it happens more in some periods and days more than in others. December 25 and 26 and January 1 register the highest death numbers.
The phenomenon was extremely visible during the first two weeks of 2015, when the rates of death for the elder people were three times higher than usual.
Sociology professor, David Phillips, studied the curious phenomenon and said that the death increase in those days is unimaginable. After searching for an equivalent on another holiday and not finding one, he believes that these deaths are linked to the Christmas and New Year.
For his research, Doctor Philips examined death certificates from 1979 to 2004. After analyzing the 57,5 million death certificates, he found out that 42,325 deaths occurred in the two weeks after Christmas. The Christmas days were also included and all these deaths were the result of natural causes.
Although this is the first time that exact dates are given for elevated mortality, other researchers have studied the higher winter death risks as well. A website that hosts 1,500 obituaries from newspapers that are situated in diverse parts of the world, noticed that during winter the number of obituaries increase. According to them, January is the month that registers most deaths.
Doctor Philips chose five types of diseases in order to explain the phenomenon. These included digestive system diseases, cancer, respiratory system diseases, metabolic and nutritional disorders and circulatory aliments diseases. During the holiday weeks, all these diseases registered increases, except for cancer. Also, children were the exception to the winter phenomenon.
According to Doctor Philips, the extremely crowded emergency rooms and the lack of staff could be major contributing factors to the death spikes. The flu which affects people in the winter could also influence these numbers. Last year for example, in the U.K., U.S. , in Japan and in 14 European countries, the death numbers were the highest they’ve been in the last 10 years.
He said that factors like weather or stress are not the reasons behind the strange phenomenon. He said that the researchers who blame depression and the cold for it are not entirely right, more reasons than one being behind it.
As to why December 25 and 26 and January 1 register the highest death numbers will remain a mystery for now.
Image Source: www.upload.wikimedia.org