Walking around Penn State campus, you are sure to see something on both men and women, young and old. Race, size, and health do not prevent this common occurrence as it can be seen on anyone. What is this thing that many people on this campus have in common every Monday morning after a weekend of socializing? A Hickey.
The media has been reporting about a seventeen year old from Mexico named Julio Macias Gonzalez who recently passed away. What was the cause of death for this seemingly healthy young man? A hickey. Julio had received this “kiss of death” from his girlfriend. The suction created formed a blood cot in Julio and resulted in him breaking out into convulsions at his family dinner and dying from a stroke as the blood clot traveled to his brain.
In another case from 2010, a forty-four year old woman from New Zealand was admitted to the hospital after a sudden paralysis of her arm. This was also due to a stroke that at first seemed to have no causation until the doctors noticed a bruise on her neck. A hickey located on a major artery had traveled to her neck and caused a minor stroke. This woman survived.
Now as we have discussed in class, should these few and far between anecdotes mean you should never give or receive a hickey? The choice is up to you. Death by hickey is so uncommon it is unheard of. This calls into question whether the hickey is actually the cause or if there is an underlying health issue. According to USA Today, the suction of the hickey could serve as a catalyst for an underlying health issue such as an existing connective tissue disorder.
According to Dr. Robert Glatter an emergency room physician, a hickey would have to be given with enormous pressure and in just the right spot. He also cited a vigorous cough or aggressive movement of the neck as other ways for a stroke to occur.
The preceding information leads me to believe that reports of hickeys leading to strokes display hickeys having more of a correlation with strokes, but certainly not a causation. With so few reports and studies done, there is little evidence that a strong enough suck of the neck will lead to a blood clot.
That being said, should you ignore these cases and continue on as if these things are not dangerous? Well that’s up to you. As an individual, you must evaluate the risk along with your desire.