Deadly Decisions – 25 Short-term Choices that Could Kill You

Photo - Deadly DecisionsHumans are lousy at estimating risk. Science has demonstrated this over and again. So, let’s give everyone out there a hand in avoiding some particularly disastrous choices we might be tempted to make in the short run. In completely random order:

  1. “Nah, I don’t need to buckle up.”
  2. Texting and driving. There is no text message worth dying for.
  3. Mixing bleach and ammonia. It creates a deadly gas. In fact, mixing common household chemicals is just not a good idea at all. There are many combinations that may produce harmful effects.
  4. Taking opioids (or any medicine) that has not been prescribed to you.
  5. Taking too much Tylenol (acetaminophen). In the right dose, it’s very helpful. Taking more than directed can cause potentially fatal liver damage.
  6. Not taking medicine that was prescribed to you (for example, blood pressure meds) or not taking them as prescribed.
  7. “I’ll just stand here under these icicles.” Bad idea. They’re solid. They’re sharp. And they fall.
  8. Devouring excessive amounts of pumpkin pie and eggnog. Delicious as they both are, they contain nutmeg, which in larger quantities, has a hallucinogenic effect that can be deadly.
  9. “Boy, am I tired…. But I need to keep driving.” Driving drowsy is a killer. The CDC calls America’s sleep deficiency a public health epidemic. Behind the wheel, it can have lethal consequences for everyone in your path.
  10. Not checking/replacing fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  11. “I don’t need a flu shot.” Yes, you probably do. The CDC now recommends nearly everyone get one. The elderly and children are at particular risk. If the flu doesn’t kill you, there’s always the potential of your spreading it to someone who won’t be so fortunate.
  12. Taking selfies while driving, standing near a cliff’s edge or a raging river, posing with a bear or moose, or getting close to moving trains/subways. Seriously. It happens far more often that you think.
  13. Eating fugu, the Japanese word for pufferfish and the dish it’s made from. Fugu can be lethally poisonous due to the toxin naturally occurring in the fish. The only “safe” sources are imported puffers that are processed and prepared by specially trained and certified fish cutters.
  14. Shoveling snow. If you’re not physically healthy, it’s not advisable. Get help. In addition to the exertion your body is not accustomed to, cold temps constrict blood vessels and reduce the supply of blood to vital organs.
  15. Using mothballs. The same stuff that keeps the moths away is also toxic to humans. And children are especially susceptible. Try some cedar wood instead.
  16. “Brrr, it’s cold in here. Let’s get one of those electric blankets.” Sure, they feel good, but they’re also a regular contributor to house fires.
  17. Not cleaning the lint from your clothes dryer. Excess lint causes many dryer fires each year, some of which are fatal.
  18. “I’m healthy. I don’t need a family doctor.” Researchers have shown in many well-documented studies there are significant health benefits to having a relationship with a family practitioner. The more family practitioners in a community, the better the health outcomes, including fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
  19. “Let’s just stand under this tree until the storm passes.” The National Weather Services says, “When the thunder roars, go indoors.” Sound advice.
  20. Not dealing with a mold issue in your home. It can suppress your immune system and cause damage to your liver and central nervous system. Call a professional.
  21. Binge drinking. On the average day in the U.S. six adults will die from alcohol poisoning. If the alcohol itself doesn’t get you, what may are the terrible consequences of passing out in a snow bank, driving while drunk, or any one of the many other terrible decisions either you or the people you’re drinking with are prone to make.
  22. Eating raw meat, poultry, seafood or uncooked eggs. The resulting salmonella poisoning can lead to serious, life-threatening complications.
  23. Ignoring your high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, see your doctor. If your doctor has prescribed medication to treat your high blood pressure, be sure to take it as directed.
  24. “Let me have one of those cigarettes.” It always starts with one. Tobacco is highly addictive, so once you start, it’s tremendously difficult to stop.
  25. “I’m just going to sit here and do nothing.” Understand, rest is just as important for the human body as is activity. But, too much of it kills. Millions of deaths are caused each year by people simply remaining physically inactive day in and day out. It’s a faster path to a heart attack or stroke than smoking. And as we all know short term decisions often become every day habits.

Whatever you do, don’t over think the items above. Just don’t do them, no matter what your brain tells you.

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