Santa's 'elf Check

Gerald Clarke

Tis the season to be jolly and people around the world are counting how many more sleeps it’ll be until Santa climbs down their chimney, samples some milk and cookies (or sherry in my house) and delivers his presents under the Christmas tree. At first it may seem that being Santa would be an excellent job; only work one day per year, transportation is provided, job satisfaction from providing smiles to children and very little threat of being made redundant. This perhaps is to ignore that being Santa Claus is one of the unhealthiest jobs that could exist. Let us delve a little into the work and lifestyle illnesses that St. Nick could be in danger of.

Santa is not a young man, and as such he should be especially mindful about his diet, however eating millions of cookies and mince pies, Santa is at risk of hypertension, dyslipidaemia and haemorrhoids or bowel problems due to a lack of dietary fibre. Santa’s belly is already legendary and as an obese man, he is at risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma. Perhaps his obesity is due to leading a sedentary lifestyle for 364 days a year, but as an obese man with asthma, it must be terribly tough to lug those presents about the globe. To combat the chances of contracting illnesses, Santa should move to a much more varied diet and cut down on his snacks and pies.

Santa also needs to look at his drinking habits as drinking gallons of milk, sherry and whisky all in one night puts liver disease and gout among the problems he may encounter with problem drinking. Living in the North Pole may also be bad for Santa’s bones as during the winter months he may not be taking in enough vitamin D which could lead to rickets or osteoporosis. The milk and cookies might actually be helping Santa out there as milk fortified in vitamin D is sold in some countries and could prevent him from deficiency.

Working in close contact with animals also presents its own risks and considering the number of diseases that can be passed from reindeer to humans, Rudolph, Prancer and Dancer might be the most dangerous part of Santa’s job. These diseases potentially include rabies, toxoplasmosis, anthrax, TB, leptospirosis, cowpox, Yersinia (plague) and Hantavirus. Santa should ensure that either his reindeer are properly vaccinated or trade them in for a healthier option, like a bicycle!

Finally another of Santa’s modus operandi which may be placing him at unnecessary risk is coming down the chimney to deliver presents. Being in such regular contact with soot could result in him developing the black lung, also called coalworker's pneumoconiosis. Perhaps it is time Santa started using the door.

It appears to be a pretty bleak picture for Santa, but lucky for him, all of these risks are well within his control. A slimmer Santa cycling through the night sky and eating the carrots and apples previously left out for his reindeer would be a better example to kids and would be healthy enough to continue delivering presents for many Christmases to come.


Merry Christmas from Pharma IQ