Let’s be honest: Most of us have had to deal with a hickey at some point in our lives. Chances are, though, that when the unmistakable mark shows up, you’re more embarrassed than afraid for your life. But after it was reported that a teen recently died from a hickey in Mexico, many folks are wondering if the legendary sign of a make-out is actually more dangerous than we previously thought.
Here’s the full story: 17-year-old Julio Macias Gonzalez recently died in Mexico City after suffering from a stroke. Doctors believe the stroke was caused by a hickey he received from his girlfriend. Basically, the hickey created a blood clot, which traveled to his brain.
Sounds like a scenario straight out of 1,000 Ways to Die (I can’t be the only one who is slightly obsessed with that show, right?). However, this is actually not the only time something like this has happened. In fact, it’s the third. Back in 2010, a 44-year-old woman in New Zealand had a hickey that caused a blood clot, which traveled to her heart and caused a minor stroke. And in 2014, a 35-year-old Dutch woman also suffered a stroke after receiving one on her neck. So, are hickeys actually a secret kiss of death?
Emergency room physician Robert Glatter recently told USA Today, “It’s possible this could happen, but it’s very rare, and parents should be reassured it’s not something that happens in a routine way.” He explains that the suction created from a hickey could damage the carotid artery (a blood vessel in the neck that carries blood from the heart to the brain). Subsequently, that might eventually cause a blood clot, which could then travel to the brain, resulting in a stroke. Any sudden movements like “a vigorous cough or sneezing, or even aggressive manipulation by a chiropractor” could lead to a carotid artery dissection, which could result in death if not treated properly.
Is it possible? Given that it has already happened three times, yes. Is it likely? Given that it’s only happened three times, no. But nevertheless, you can bet we’ll be having some pretty tame make-outs in the near future.
(Photo via Getty)