The chances of dying from choking on your food is an estimated 1:13,375. No matter how soft and tasty the mashed potatoes are, they still hold peril! Look out for bones in the turkey, and chew and swallow no matter how caught up in conversation you are. And make sure grandpa leaves his dentures in.
1:6 people die of heart disease annually in the United States. However, the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving, carries higher rates of heart disease-related death than the rest of the year. Not only is everyone running around eating high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium foods and putting on weight, but the stress of what is supposed to be a happy time also takes its toll on blood pressure and psychological anxiety, making it the deadliest time of the year, as well as the happiest.
Food poisoning kills about 1,809 people each year in the United States—and only part of those are caused by known pathogens (bacteria and viruses). In the freneticism of cooking a massive meal, don’t lose sight of basic safety and hygiene. Keep your hands washed, cook things to their appropriate temperature, and don’t leave perishables sitting out for too long.
Electrocution claims about 1000 lives annually. Unfortunately, the data is overgeneralized, which means electricity in all its many forms makes up the 1:12,220 ratio. This includes lighting (you have 1 in 5000 chance of being struck over the course of your lifetime), electricians (which have a much higher rate than the rest of the public), capital punishment (no matter how mad your family makes you, keep that temper in check!), and sticking your fingers into the socket. So once the pumpkin pie is done, be careful putting up those Christmas tree lights…
The stressfulness of holidays doesn’t just apply to people. When an influx of strangers invade their home, dogs get a bit frantic too. The increase of robberies during the holiday season doesn’t help their behavior, and grandma’s Jack Russell terrier’s temperament probably isn’t as sweet as she seems to think. On the whole, there’s a 1:116,448 chance that you’ll die from a dog-inflicted wound, which claims about 20 lives in the United States each year.
Anaphylaxis from food allergies kills about 200 people a year (although this statistic has yet to be confirmed by experts), but closer to 200,000 are hospitalized annually. When you’re supposed to eat all kinds of foods made by all kinds of people, it can be difficult to be sure Aunt Tilly’s pumpkin pie stayed a safe distance from the peanut butter pie. If you or a loved one has a food allergy, bring the epinephrine, just to be on the safe side.
Fire and Smoke Inhalation
Most fire related deaths are actually from inhaling smoke before getting to safety. Nonetheless, the chances of dying from a fire—in whatever manner—are 1:1,442. Before embarking on the Thanksgiving day feast, make sure smoke alarms are working. Don’t leave the house with the oven on, and don’t invite so many relatives over that everyone is stuffed in the house like sardines in a can.
With everyone racing around trying to get someplace, car accidents increase drastically during the holidays. Despite common fears of flying, the chances of dying in a plane crash are only 1:5862. Meanwhile, car accidents account for 1:272. When you account for accidents involving any type of ground-restrained vehicle, that goes up to 1:85 (maybe leave the four-wheeler ride for another day). Even just walking across the road accounts for 1:623 deaths.
Whether you’re flinging yourself off a building to avoid Thanksgiving dinner with the family or slipping in the kitchen running to get the turkey out of the oven, the chances of death from all kinds of falls are an astonishing 1:84. It gives new meaning to the old “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials. Keep grandad in his chair at the table, and help your other elderly relatives down the stairs to keep the holidays merry.
Once uncle Moe pulls out the beer, of course the chances of crazy accidents happening increase. But even without that, inexplicable accidents claim 1 in 36 lives each year. And although that seems like a lot (about 100,000 people a year), once you start paring down the different kinds of accidents that might happen, the chances get a lot smaller. In fact, there’s only a 1:37,351 chance that something sharp will be the culprit—but mind aunt June when she’s wielding knives anyways.