If you’ve seen our show on how you will die, you’ll know all about the most common ways in which we leave this planet, which for most of us happens after we’ve lived until a ripe old age. You may also know from some of our other shows featuring the scarier aspects of life that some of us just have rotten luck, and we may go out in agonizing pain due to some strange disease or even after taking a bite on the butt from one of our eight-legged friends. While most of us do make it to the later stages of life, every day is full of trapdoors and potholes we might fall into, metaphorically speaking. Today we’ll look at some of the hidden dangers lurking around daily, in this episode of the Infographics Show, These everyday things might one day kill you.
We’ll start with germs and something that can be very nasty. This is called E. coli, and while most E. coli is ok, some strains of this bacteria can make you very sick, and can also be the end of you. One such infection is called hemolytic uremic syndrome, and this gets to work destroying your kidneys. Outbreaks are not very common, but they do happen, and are usually spread via food that hasn’t been cooked properly. In the early 90s, four children died from being infected after eating at the burger restaurant, Jack in the Box. In 2015, Chipotle Mexican Grill was blamed for an outbreak, while cheese and soy nut butter has been to blame in other recent outbreaks. Just in 2018, two deaths occurred and scores of people fell very ill in the U.S. and Canada, and romaine lettuce was suspected of being the culprit. If you want to avoid E. coli infection, cook your food well, wash your hands after touching animals or going to the bathroom, and make sure you always drink uncontaminated water.
There’s a good reason why we wash our hands often throughout the day. Bugs are everywhere, and you never know, if you don’t wash frequently or clean all your small skin abrasions, you might even come into contact with the bug “staphylococcus aureus”, which has been known to cause “Necrotizing Fasciitis”, also called flesh-eating disease.
There are literally thousands of kinds of bacteria lurking all over the house, so the best you can do is keep the place clean. The New York Times in 2015 reported a study that found dangerous strains of bacteria on many toilets seats. These included E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, shigella and streptococcus. The report stated that while you might wash your hands after going to the toilet, some others don’t, so the bacteria spreads to door handles or even the towel dispenser.
Ok, so now you are a cleaning maniac, scrubbing every surface in your house daily. Only you should know that cleaning can also kill, if you don’t do it right. In 2018, that happened to a man in Illinois after he mixed bleach with a commercial drain cleaner. In fact, if you didn’t already know, there are lots of household cleaning products that you really shouldn’t mix. The CDC actually writes about this problem, stating that soap and water is often all you need. It gives some strong words of advice, “Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.” You can read forums on the issue of what happens when you do. Some people believe the gas created can be deadly, others disagree, but everyone agrees that it will surely make you feel very ill if you breathe in the concoction. So, clean a lot, be clean, and be careful how you clean.
Now the you have cleaned your bathroom and are feeling secure, you take a nice, safe bath…Well, bathtub drowning is more common than you think. Accidents do happen. PolitiFact actually looked at the numbers of bathtub deaths in the U.S. after someone had said on TV that bathtub death was more common than accidental gunshot death. It isn’t, but still, the last available statistics said in 2011 that there were 95 bathtub drownings in the U.S. The CDC reports that indeed, for people who may have seizures, the bathtub can be a dangerous place, but drowning in the house pool also leads to lots of American deaths, 80 percent of which are male. In another report by The Consumer Product Safety Commission, it was stated that from 2006 to 2010 there was a total of 434 bathtub deaths in the U.S., but most of those involved young kids. According to The Wall Street Journal, Japan has more bathtub deaths, with nine out of ten drownings happening to people over 65. The report stated 4,866 people drowned to death in a bathtub in 2014, up seventy percent over ten years. The CDC also puts falls as one of the leading causes of accidental death, and guess which room sees the biggest number of these falls? You guessed it, the bathroom. Apparently getting out of the bath is statistically way more dangerous than getting in.
With that dangerous bathtub and all those diseases lurking around the toilet, you might want to head to another room.
You go to the kitchen, a place full of sharp knives and things that can burn you. It’s also a place that hides potentially dangerous things you eat. As you’ll know from our other shows, overdoses of people taking opiate pain medications has shot up in the U.S. lately, but did you know acetaminophen overdose leads to hundreds of yearly deaths in the U.S. alone. So just be careful when taking your Tylenol. And if we are talking about the dangers of eating, that isn’t always related to what’s in the food. According to Injury Facts 2017, choking accounted for 5,051 deaths. The Daily Mail reported that in England, Scotland and Wales, choking deaths were up 17 percent in 2016, leading to 289 deaths. The blame for most deaths was people just eating too fast. The American Academy of Pediatrics says hotdogs are especially dangerous and should come with a warning label. Time wrote a report in 2010 stating choking death in children was 17 percent of the time hotdog-related.
It seems staying home is just too dangerous.
So, you go outside. You don’t drive, because you know road accidents are high on the list of number of accidental deaths. It’s not like you’ll get caught up in a hurricane because you just checked the weather on your smartphone…while you were walking down the street. In fact, if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to be poisoned, crash a vehicle or fall down in a dangerous spot, then you are avoiding the brunt of ways you might accidentally die. As NBC wrote in 2016, “In 1999, overdoses, poisonings and falls accounted for one in four accidental deaths. Now, they are more than half of them.” They also stated what we said, and that is that the bathroom is one very dangerous place.
But now there is an even newer nuisance, a danger that looks so innocent. That is death by selfie. In fact, selfie deaths have become so prevalent you can now see a dedicated Wikipedia page. The Telegraph cited a report that said there were 127 reported “selfie deaths” between March 2014 and September 2016, but more than half of them happened in India. Next was Pakistan (9), USA (8), Russia (6) and Philippines (4). In June 2017, the Irish Times called this “Death by Narcissism”, stating, “Twenty-nine people have died while taking selfies in 2017. Only five have died in shark attacks.” The deaths included cliff falls, driving accidents and one man falling from a building. The craze is so bad in India that in Mumbai they now have “no-selfie zones”. We also don’t need to tell you that many accidents happen when people are just looking at their phone, texting and swiping, when they should be concentrating on what is in front of them.
The National Safety Council in 2017 said the sad thing is, just about everything we have mentioned in this show today that led to someone’s death was preventable. In the U.S. alone, that was 442 lives each day in 2016 that could have been saved.
Have you almost died doing something we talked about today? Let us know in the comments!