Here’s Why Black Friday is Hazardous to Your Health

There are few American traditions more ingrained in our holiday schedule than Black Friday. The biggest shopping day on the calendar is as much a part of holiday lore as Christmas carols and eggnog. But like many things related to the holiday season, taking part in Black Friday isn’t exactly good for your health. Here’s how the retail holiday is actually hurting your health.

people rushing past Black Friday signs

People rush past a shopfront advertising deals. | Rob Stothard/Getty Images

For starters, malls are germ factories

You may think digging through those bins full of discount wears is fun. But it’s also a surefire way to pick up germs. “Anywhere people gather is filled with bacteria and viruses, and a crowded shopping mall is a perfect example,” Philip Tierno, Ph.D., tells Health.com.

Rummaging through clothes with your hands isn’t the only way to pick up bacteria and viruses either. Trying clothing on in the dressing room means you’re putting something on that (possibly) many other people have worn before you. And if those people were sick, you could get sick as well.

“After people try on clothing, skin cells and perspiration can accumulate on the inside,” Tierno continues. “Both can serve as food for bacterial growth.”

And the transfer of germs doesn’t stop at the clothing stores. ATM pads, food courts tables, and escalator handrailings are all teaming with nasty little things that can hurt your health.

“In our testing, we have found food, E. coli, urine, mucus, feces, and blood on escalator handrails,” Charles Gerba, Ph.D. tells Health.com.

black friday shoppers in herald square

Customers stream into Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square. | Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Busy shopping can raise your blood pressure

Even if you’re someone that enjoys shopping, Black Friday hysteria can do a number on your stress level. “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 tells The Sun.

And being smooshed together with other shoppers isn’t the only thing that can raise your stress levels either. Being short on money or being too concerned with what to buy someone can cause problems as well. “All of this tends to increase your blood pressure levels as well as your cortisol levels and your adrenaline,” Robertson continues. “And in the wrong person having your blood pressure increase through these hormones can increase your risk of heart attack and strokes.”

The solution?

Even if you’re someone who likes going to the mall, you may want to consider doing most of your Black Friday shopping online from the comfort of your own home. It cuts down on your chances of picking up any viruses that can make you sick and can help give your blood pressure a break as well.

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