This may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be quite dangerous. Take this 2010 study, which concluded:
"For all settings combined, there are holiday spikes for most major disease groups and for all demographic groups, except children. In the 2 weeks starting with Christmas, there is an excess of 42,325 deaths from natural causes above and beyond the normal winter increase. Christmas and New Year appear to be risk factors for deaths from many diseases."
Some of that mortality may be traced to unfortunate Christmas circumstances and accidents around the Christmas tree, such as falling from ladders or electrical shocks from lights.
But tragedies such as "unilateral phrenic nerve paralysis from cutting down a Christmas tree." Or when "Christmas in the Cotswolds" is subtitled "a personal view of red snapper poisoning," you might be forgiven for wondering how wonderful the Christmas visit was. (And only a few of these examples are taken from the BMJ's always delightful Christmas issue.)
Many children now seem to be indifferent to seeing Santa Claus, although they become less indifferent as it gets closer to Christmas. And you can't get much closer to Christmas than Dr. Christmas himself, immunologist Steve Christmas of the University of Liverpool. Christmas studies natural killer cells -- which does not, of course, explain why the holiday he's apparently named for is linked to a higher mortality rate.
Happy holidays AND TAKE CARE……