14 Valentine’s Day Health Hazards (…And How to Avoid Them)

Image Credit:  Dorkina Myrick, M.D., Ph.D.

So, the single ladies are sad that no one has offered to “put a ring on it.” Even worse, there are no viable prospects in sight. The guys (and girls) are “searching for love in all the wrong places.”  (Even though some of the places are right for the night!)

Well, count your blessings single bachelors and bachelorettes!  Here are 14 Valentine’s Day Health Hazards (…And How to Avoid Them). Feel free to peruse at leisure. You may discover that in the end being single isn’t such a bad thing…..

Hazard #14: Bathtub Drowning – If It Can Happen to Whitney, It Can Happen to You
Make sure you are awake, alert, and aware before you climb into that bathtub or jacuzzi for a romantic, relaxing soak either alone or with your loved one. Alcohol, drugs – prescription or illicit – and a heavy, romantic meal just don’t mix. Drowsiness can occur if you combine them, and it can turn a single romantic evening into a night an unplanned trip to eternity. So, if you are not ready to meet your Maker, stay out of that tub if you’ve had too much to drink and/or done drugs. It’s just not worth the risk. Wait until you have sobered up and dried out.

Hazard #13:  Fatal Attraction – When You Are Loved TOO Much
Life is not a prison, and stalking is a crime. Break free and LIVE. Find out more at The Stalking Resource Center (1)

Hazard #12:  Suicide – When You Feel You Are Not Loved Enough
Suicide is not the answer. Get help! Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline – Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline. (2)

Hazard #11: Fire from Candlelight – Burning Down the House
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 42 home fires occur daily in the United States, and over one-third of these begin in the bedroom. Candles should be burned away from curtains, drapes, and other highly flammable materials. Children should not be allowed to play with candles, and they should be kept away from pets. Ideally, candles should be extinguished prior to retiring for the evening, and they should never be left unattended. (3)

Hazard #10: Catfish (and I Don’t Mean Fried) – Ignorance Is Not Necessarily Bliss
Sometimes, the world of online dating can be murkier than the waters inhabited by the happiest of catfish.  Even the entertainment industry has cashed in on the action. First, there was the movie. (4) (which, by the way, baffled me.) Now, there is a new MTV show. (5) It highlights the unpleasant circumstance in which the online object of affection is not quite what he or she seems upon meeting in-person. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t get “Catfished.” Use caution when choosing to wade into the love canal. Just ask Manti Te’o. (6)

Hazard #9: Drunk Driving
There’s no getting around this one. I won’t even try to be wry or humorous about it. Just don’t do it. Period.

Hazard #8:  Stilettos – Seriously Well-Heeled Steps…And a Cautionary Tale
Nothing says “sexy” quite like a pair of stiletto heels – especially for Valentine’s Day.  However, there is nothing more “unsexy” than an ankle injury caused by a stiletto mishap.  According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (NIAMS), approximately 628,000 people in the United States suffer ankle sprains annually.  (7)  Emergency room statistics indicate that 23,000 people incur ankle sprains daily. (8)  These injuries result in temporary disability, decreased work productivity, and lost income for these thousands of Americans each year.  Those absolutely determined to wear stilettos might be wise to develop proper posture and body carriage so as to avoid stiletto-associated injuries.  Exercises to strengthen and tone muscles involved with ankle joint inversion and eversion are recommended.  A new workout also offers a bit of help in this regard.   “A Stiletto Workout? It Can Be Done,” a recent New York Times article by Hilary Howard, discusses the finer points of sauntering in the spiky shoes.  Key principles include involving the body core in dance, activity, and movement; lifting the torso, sucking in the abdomen, and tightening the derriere.  (8, 9)  Finally, stilettos can also be lethal weapons in the hands of the mentally unstable spurned by unrequited love (or lust).  Consider the case of this poor fellow in the 1992 movie, Single White Female. (Ugh!!!) (10)  

(Disclaimer and Warning: Clicking on the Single White Female link will open a window displaying a video of a grotesque movie scene that may not be appropriate for all viewers.  Neither I nor MSP3 – The Policy Café endorse or support violent activity or behavior of this nature in any circumstance.)  

Hazard #7:  Wardrobe Malfunctions – Enough Said
Janet Jackson.  Sofia Vergara.  Britney Spears. How many others have been fashion victims of this type?  Don’t let a memorable romantic evening turn into a night to you’ll want to forget. Consider the advice of CBS executives who wished to ensure that the recent Grammy Awards ceremony was clothing mishap free:
“………Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered.  Thong type costumes are problematic.  Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack.  Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female   breast nipples.  Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible “puffy” bare skin exposure………”
Then again, Katy Perry didn’t get the memo. (11, 12)  Ultimately, I suppose it’s up to you.

Hazard #6: Bedbugs –  When You Don’t Sleep Alone
Princess Diana once said that her marriage to Prince Charles failed because there were “three (of them) in the marriage.” (13) That’s nothing.  Try at least 300, or maybe hundreds, a thousand or more if you have bedbugs.  Far tougher than the other “300” – the Spartans – bedbugs are difficult to kill and can rival any lover, mistress, or paramour for alienation of affection. There are a few things you can do: (14, 15)
1.  Try checking the BedBug Registry.  I never leave home without it.
2.  Perform your own BedBug inspection.  Check mattresses, headboards, drapes, and bedroom furniture in close proximity to the bed
3. Protect your personal items from infestation by not placing items on the bed until you have checked for bedbugs.
4. Call a professional, certified exterminator with expertise in eradicating bedbugs (if the problem is in your home).

Hazard #5:  Chocolate – Don’t Let It Kill Your Best Friend
Chocolate can be lethal for dogs.  Don’t leave it lying around for them to access.  Find out more at “Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs.” (16)

Hazard #4:  Itchy Massage Oils – When a Hot Massage Becomes a Hot Mess
A romantic massage can highlight of a nice evening.  (Key word: “can”) The same tender massage can also quickly turn into a HOT MESS!  Why?  Some massage oils contain allergens that may result in itching, burning, and rashes, particularly when heated.  Just be sure to check the list of ingredients on the bottle.  Proceed with caution if no ingredient list is present.  Learn more at “Selecting Massage Lotions and Oils: Considerations for Sensitive Clients.” (17)

Hazard #3:  Roses – A Date with a “Prick”
Use caution when admiring and enjoying roses.  Roses are beautiful, but like spurned lovers, they also have sticky thorns.  These thorns can harbor sporotrichosis, a fungal disease caused by Sporothrix schenckii.    Fungal spores traverse the skin barrier through prick injuries from rose thorns.  Raised bumps, and later, ulcers, may develop at the sites of entry.  Later, the infection travels through the lymphatics and can culminate in either dormancy or the development of more serious systemic health problems. (18)  Try to avoid handling rose stems, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly if you do.

Hazard #2:  Food Poisoning and Allergies – Don’t Be a Victim of Gastronomic Disaster!

Food poisoning is often unavoidable, but allergic reactions to food can often be avoided with a bit of caution and planning. (19)  Communicate your food allergy issues with your loved one prior to going out to eat in order to avoid disappointments, hurt feelings, or worse – a trip to the hospital.  Ask specific questions of the chef prior to ordering meals.  Carry an EpiPen (epinephrine autoinjector pen) with you at all times – just in case.  Be informed and stay safe.

Hazard #1:  Sexual Hazards – Dangerous Liaisons (STIs and Other God-Awful Things)
HIV, hepatitis B, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis,  HIV, and trichomoniasis: Who wants one of these (or more) as a Valentine’s Day gift?!  (Well, none of these makes ME feel the love.)  Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a fact sheet just in time for Valentine’s Day entitled, “Incidence, Prevalence, and Cost of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States.”  Each year, 20 million people are diagnosed with STIs.  Five times as many people already suffer from STIs.  Even worse, the United States incurs a staggering $16 billion in medical costs for STIs alone. (20)  Is it really worth it? Consider the pain, suffering, and possible life-long health consequences, including sterility (chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea), debilitating illness and susceptibility to cancer and lymphomas (HIV/AIDS), and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer. (21)
So (If you choose not to abstain):
1.    Get tested.
2.    Know your HIV status.
3.    Wear a condom.
4.    Communicate.
5.    It’s your life.  Do whatever you can to protect it.

Be Smart.  Be Safe.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Blog Community:  Thanks for reading!  What do you think?  How would you rank the list?  What would you add or remove on the list of Valentine’s Day hazards?  What are you doing to stay safe this Valentine’s Day?


  1. “Stalking ResourceCenter.”  NationalCenter for Victims of Crime Website.  2012.  http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  2. “National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.”  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Department of Health and Human Service Website. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  3. “Causes and Circumstances of Home Candle Fires.”  U.S. Fire Administration – FEMA Website. http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/focus/candles.shtm.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  4. “Catfish Movie Trailer Official (HD).” August 24, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xp4M0IjzcQ&feature=youtube_gdata_playerRetrieved February 14, 2013.
  5. “Catfish – The TV Show.” MTV Website.  http://www.mtv.com/shows/catfish/series.jhtml.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  6. “What is ‘Catfish’?  Manti Te’o Found Out the Hard Way.” Top Stories.  MTV Website.  January 18, 2013.  http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1700487/what-is-catfish-manti-teo.jhtml.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  7. “Questions and Answers About Sprains and Strains.”  NIAMS Website. July 2012.  http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/Sprains_Strains/default.asp.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  8. Franklin, Deborah.  “Ankle Sprains: New Remedies but Still Little Sympathy.”  The New York Times.  July 18, 2006.  www.nytimes.com/2006/07/18/health. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  9.  “A Stiletto Workout? It Can Be Done.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/28/nyregion/stiletto-workout-invented-by-nicole-damaris.html?_r=0. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  10. “Single White Female (4/8) Movie CLIP – Death by Stiletto (1992) HD.”  MovieClips.com.  YouTube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KISK76nF-XE.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  11. THR Staff.  “Grammy Awards to Performers: No Thongs, No Nipples.”  The Hollywood Reporter.  February 6, 2013.  Website.  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/grammy-nudity-memo-no-thongs-418862.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  12. Schillaci, Sophie. “Grammys 2013:  Wardrobe Memo ‘Probably Encouraged’ Katy Perry to Rebel, Says Songwriter.” The Hollywood Reporter.  February 10, 2013.  Website.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  13. “The Panorama Interview. BBC. November 1995. Website.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/politics97/diana/panorama.html.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  14. The BedBug Registry Website. http://www.bedbugregistry.com/. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  15. “CDC Parasites: BedBugs: Frequently Asked Questions.”  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website.  January 10, 2013.  http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  16. “Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs.” PetMD.com. Website.  2013. http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_multi_chocolate_toxicity.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  17. “Selecting Massage Lotions and Oils: Considerations for Sensitive Clients.” 2013.  Website.  http://www.massagemag.com/News/print-this.php?id=4861.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  18. “Sporotrichosis.” PubMed Health. May 20, 2012.  Website.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002314/. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  19. “Food Allergy.” Mayo Clinic Website.  Updated August 10, 2012http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergy/DS00082/DSECTION=causes.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  20. “Incidence, Prevalence, and Cost of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/STI-Estimates-Fact-Sheet-Feb-2013.pdf.  Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  21. Myrick, Dorkina.  “As Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Ends…..”  MSP3 – The Policy Café.  Website.  https://msp3kina.com/2013/02/01/cervical-cancer-awareness-month-ends/. https://msp3kina.com/2013/02/01/cervical-cancer-awareness-month-ends/

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5 replies

  1. I love this article (no pun intended)! Your “biting” commentary on bedbugs was “bloody” interesting! Everyone I wish you all a “Happy VD!”…Er, Valentine’s Day….

  2. Just a word to the wise based on my public health clinic experience, marriage won’t always protect you from hazard #1. As many married women have learned the hard way, character should trump maritial status

  3. Totally Great work. Please continue this awesome work and I look forward to see more of your excellent posts. Take care.

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