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How Healthy Are You?

Yikes January Is a Killer Month

By John Salak

By John Salak –

Okay, sure, February has Valentine’s Day, and it does lay claim to the opening of Spring Training, but it’s not the most endearing month for most people. February is cold, dreary and dark. Of course, at least it’s not January—which consistently ranks as the deadliest month.

On average, just over 250,00 pop every January compared to an average of 242,000 in December and 218,000 in August.

What gives? January is a killer for all sorts of reasons. The World Health Organization notes that fatalities from heart disease soar in cold-weather climes in January because the body tends to lose a lot of heat, which requires the heart to work harder. It puts people with existing conditions at health risk.

The first month of the year also sees a rise in flu and colds since people tend to stay indoors, which helps promote the spread of various viruses and unfortunate deaths. Need proof? Remember how Covid-19 infections rose during the winter months? Viruses may also get stronger in winter months, making them hard to overcome, according to the University of Southern California.

The healthy holiday aftermath may also take a toll thanks to added stress, overeating and overdrinking during late December, Dr. Robert Glatter told LiveScience.com. In addition, cold weather, poor heating conditions, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning all contribute to the Grim Reapers’ total.

If it makes anyone feel better, which is doubtful, January doesn’t lead to suicide rates. The highest numbers are found surprisingly enough in April, May and June when spring takes hold, according to research out of John Hopkins Medicine.

These numbers can be two to three times higher than in December when suicide rates are actually at their lowest, added Adam Kaplin, an assistant professional of psychiatry at John Hopkins.

Admittedly, short of time travel, people can’t skip January and its death totals no matter how much they’d like to. But there are ways to prepare for what seems to be post-holiday health.

Glatter and others note that flu shots are a wise idea, as is washing hands regularly and trying to stay in well-ventilated areas to offset virus infections. Other precautions include dressing warm in winter and avoiding strenuous activities that could threaten those at greatest risk.

Otherwise, hang on until February.

 

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