Most of us have either had one or given one at some point in our lives. Usually attributed to the more innocent nature of young love, a love bite, or hickey, is a common enough form of affection, and one that leaves a visible, tell-tale sign for everyone to see, at least, depending on where it is.
While these signs of affection can certainly be a little embarrassing, they are ultimately harmless, right? Much to our surprise, that is apparently untrue.
According to a recent report coming out of Mexico City, Mexico, a 17-year-old boy died after receiving a hickey from his girlfriend that eventually caused a blood clot which traveled to his brain. According to the report, Julio Macias Gonzalez was sitting at the dinner table after spending a day with his 24-year-old girl friend when suddenly he started convulsing. Alarmed, his family called for help right away, and upon the paramedic's arrival, they determined that the fatal stroke was the result of the bruise on the bus neck. Apparently, the family blames the girlfriend who is now in hiding.
Stroke among young people is incredibly rare, making up just about 10 percent of incidence according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, with the most common of those being an ischemic stroke, which involves the blood being deprived of oxygen as the result of a clot or arterial blockage. Which begs the question, can a hickey actually cause a stroke? “We can’t comment on this case, as we don’t have any medical history. Generally speaking, hickeys are simply superficial bruising and there’s no scientific evidence available that could inform our thinking about this situation as it relates to stroke,” Teresa Roncon, a spokeswoman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada said. Interestingly enough, however, this isn't the first incident of a love bite going wrong. In 2011, a New Zealand woman had a partial loss of movement in her left arm as a result of receiving a hickey. After seeing the bruises, doctors put the two symptoms together and concluded that the suction from the hickey tampered with a major artery, curing a blood clot to form. So what do this mean for young lovers the world over? To be honest, we wouldn’t put too much stock into it, although a link is hard to deny. However, if you want to look at it from a statistical point of few, there have only been two reported incidents of this happening, ever, which means you're more likely to win the lottery and get struck by lightning on the same day.