Why Black Friday is Hazardous to Your Health

Most people love certain traditions of the holidays. It might be your mother’s recipe for mashed potatoes, seeing how much nephews and nieces have grown or watching a favorite movie. We love the food, gathering together and holiday music — we’re still holding off on playing Michael Bublé until the 29th!

For some people, Black Friday is an enjoyable tradition. The day after Thanksgiving is frequently seen as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Retailers love the day that ensures their “books are in the black” at the end of the year! And some people enjoy it as a sport: they pore over the circulars, making a plan of attack. They figure out what store to go to and in what order. Some folks even camp! If that’s something your family does, it’s as much a tradition as eggnog and sleigh bells.  

However, there are significant drawbacks. Some stores have started holding their sale beginning Thursday night, which means some families are scarfing down dinner or even eating in line. Additionally, retail workers have to work on the holiday when many would rather be home with family. That really grinds our gears! But perhaps the most significant pitfalls are the health challenges the day presents. The cold weather heralds cold and flu season, and Black Friday can have health consequences.

One of the first major hazards of Black Friday is injuries. People are in such a hurry to get into the stores that there is pushing and shoving. Falls are not uncommon. It has gotten to a point wherein the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — better known as OSHA — has felt the need to put out safety guidelines to stores to try and protect employees and shoppers.

Doorbuster deals make people believe they need to get in first. When emotions are high, people can behave poorly. Therefore you frequently hear of fistfights in stores. If you ever feel like you may be in danger, leave the store. Getting the perfect sweater for your cousin isn’t worth it.

The stress of the big day can harm your blood pressure, negatively impacting your heart and health. “When you’ve got flocks of people all rushing for the same discounts, it tends to make people angry, which increases your stress levels,” Dr. Dan Robertson warned. Because of that, if you know you don’t handle stress well — or you are concerned about your blood pressure — you may want to steer clear.   

Moreover, being cold and tired isn’t good for your immune system. Camping out in November isn’t conducive for a good night’s sleep, and you’ll be cold for hours. Either of these things on their own may not be too harmful for one night. But, come the morning, you’ll be surrounded by a lot of people in a closed space. Having a bad cold won’t stop a dedicated shopper from coming, breathing on you and touching things you may buy with their germy hands! “Anywhere people gather is filled with bacteria and viruses, and a crowded shopping mall is a perfect example,” said Dr. Philip Tierno. Of course, sick people are unavoidable when you go to the store at any time. But, the crowds aren’t so bad, more people will steer clear if they aren’t offered deals and, usually, you’ll have had more rest and less cold the night before.

While we love a good deal and tradition, as we get older, the appeal of Black Friday fades more and more. Nowadays, with online sales and Cyber Monday, we skip it altogether. So, if you’re on the fence about Black Friday, take our advice and stay home. Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and enjoy some time with loved ones. Your health will thank you!

November 27, 2019
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