Was My Mother Right? Can a Hickey Kill You?

by Chloe Jeffreys · 40 comments

in Family, Humor

An Indian Lady by Thomas Hickey


I’m afraid that this Sunday series on snippets of wisdom gleaned from my mother is going to end up being rather short due to lack of material, but hopefully they’ll be inspiring while they last.

Therefore, as I continue to honor my mom’s memory and her wicked sense of humor, I provide you today’s piece of wisdom from the grave:

“Don’t let boys give you a hickey because it can give you a blood clot that can travel to your brain and kill you.”

This potentially life-saving tip was delivered unto me when I was about 16.

At the time, I was in possession of a big, fat, purple hickey that I thought I was hiding pretty well.  In retrospect, I think probably not. Knowing my mother, it is unlikely that it was simple happenstance that led her to produce this hickey hokem out of thin air. Anyway, for once, don’t ask me why, I believed her.

I wish now that I’d let boys continue to give me hickeys and had believed her about staying out of the sun instead, but youth is wasted on the foolish.

After she told me this, I, as a general rule, didn’t allow boys to give me hickeys. Occasionally, I’d get one anyway (shrug) and then sit and worry that I was going to die.

Years passed. I thought my hickey days were over. I got married with this hickey wisdom secretly nestled deep within my psyche just waiting for the day I could impart it to my daughter were I lucky enough to have one.

One day my husband and I were wrestling around and he attempted to hold me down and give me a hickey. I fought for all I was worth. But since he’s bigger and stronger, he was able to get me in a hold that I couldn’t escape.  Then he started to suck on my neck while I screamed and thrashed (and my husband insists that I insert here that I also was giggling because he doesn’t want my readers to think he’s some sort of hickey pervert or something).

Finally, realizing that death was imminent, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “NO!  STOP!  I’m going to get a blood clot to the brain and die!

That was all it took to break the suction because apparently you can’t suck on someone’s neck while laughing hysterically.  In my mind, attempted murder is no laughing matter, but that’s a fight we’ll discuss on another day.

So, that brings me to the question: Was my mother right?   Can a hickey kill you?

It is difficult to get a clear answer. I checked on Snopes, from whence all urban myths are blown, and they don’t even address this urban legend.

WikiAnswers says, “Yes.” But doesn’t give any more information than that.

ChaCha and Ask.com both say “No.” They assert that a hickey is merely a bruise from broken capillaries in the neck and that you can’t be killed by a hickey any more than you can be killed by any other bruise.

But it appears now that my mom may have been right.

MSNBC Weird News reports that on January, 21, 2011, a New Zealand woman was partially paralyzed after suffering a stroke as a result of a hickey on her neck.  She didn’t die. They gave her some blood thinners and I guess she’s all better now.

While, in fact, this is the first, (and, my husband insists that I insert, “only”), medically documented case of a hickey causing a blood clot to go to someone’s brain, this wouldn’t have fazed my mom at all since she considered herself prescient. If she were here, she would smile knowingly at me, and I would roll my eyes just like I did at most things she told me.

So there you have it.  Wisdom to live by. And Mom, because I know how much these words mean to a mother even if they are a little late in coming, “You were (maybe) right.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Help me June 18, 2017 at 8:45 pm

I gave myself a small hickey and I’m having a panic attack. Please help am I going to die. It was on my arm


Stephanie Sawyer September 11, 2016 at 12:06 am

How do you know if the hickey has done harm? I know death is a side affect from sucking to hard on the jugular vein, but is there any symptoms that we should watch for ?


Aris August 30, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Hey your mom is right. A recent case has proved that hickies have the potential to be deadly. Just so you know, it’s not common but most definitely possible.


bobbie August 30, 2016 at 8:54 am

I came across your blog while searching if hickeys can kill you after a coworker told me about this story, which I see others have also commented on. Crazy!!


LLLL August 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm
Kara May 20, 2016 at 10:49 pm

if the guy sucked on the right spot, there is a pressure point that can cause you to have a stroke in the neck. that might have happened.


Mrs. Susan March 20, 2015 at 1:39 am

If you are having any problem with your EX or husband, relationship is not going well call : +2347051129109 via Email: dr.revpeter_chuiks@yahoo.pt for solution thanks


JustMyopinion. December 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Many things can give you a blood clot, don’t stop enjoying yourself for fear of this, fast food/smoking (could) give you a blood clot. So long as you are happy and exercise, it shouldn’t matter. (even if you Do smoke, which I don’t.) you shouldn’t let something as ridiculous as that stop you enjoying a little fun in your love life. personally, I find hickeys somewhat playful, and a turn-on, but that’s just me.
It seems likely to me, your mom just didn’t want any of the public or family to see what her daughter was getting up to.


daniel April 4, 2015 at 3:30 am

i have 4 PURPLE hickies on one side of my neck, will i be fine ?_?


Woops.... February 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I was surfing the E- because I have one on the right side of my neck and it hurts to stretch my neck out, also to touch it. Eh I didn’t want one, he was to strong though.. Hope I don’t die :/



Chloe Jeffreys February 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I also hope you don’t die!!! You probably won’t.


Kelly December 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

LMAO—this is hysterical! We all hate to admit it when mom is right!! 🙂

Too funny!
Kelly recently posted..Flash Memoir-CrashMy Profile


Chloe December 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm

No matter when your kid says it, it is music to a mother’s ears.


JDaniel4's Mom December 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

Stopping from Time Travel Tuesday! I would much rather have a kiss.
JDaniel4’s Mom recently posted..Pausing Life for a Moment- My 3 Little DucksMy Profile


Chloe December 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Thanks for stopping by! Drop in again sometime.


Christine @ Quasi Agitato December 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

“hickey hokem” That is hilarious. What a great, funny, and mildly troubling post. We must find a definitive answer to this question before my four year old starts dating (which could be any day now.)
Christine @ Quasi Agitato recently posted..Four.My Profile


Chloe December 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Thanks for coming by.

I think the secret is dropping these words of wisdom with timing. Say it at the exact right time and it’ll stick. Good luck.


Tomekha December 6, 2011 at 5:15 am

LMAO #dying …I don’t like hickeys in general so I doubt I’ll ever find out whether this bit of wisdom is true or false…LOOOL


serendipitoussecrets July 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I shared your link on facebook because I have been intrigued by that face scrubber since reading the OIl of Olay post 😉

Ironically as I am trying to post this my dh attacked my neck! He hadn't even looked at the screen to see your post! He is the only one who has ever given me a hickey and I remind him I do not want evidence of his love to show 🙂


Chloe June 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Kristy, I'm glad you stuck with it. One day I'll have to do a piece on my GRANDMOTHER'S wisdom that warned that if you ate a watermelon seed it would sprout in your intestines.

And I'm glad you did that. I'm looking into the details of having a giveaway. It isn't as easy as it used to be.


Chloe June 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Tabitha, I wouldn't risk it. There's a lady in New Zealand who is wishing she'd had my mom to tell her not to get hickies. Although the way I heard it is that if you swallow gum it stays in your stomach for seven years. Yuck.


Kristy June 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Sharing on Facebook also!


Kristy June 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Laughing so hard there are tears in my eyes!! And this, after I passed over your blogpost 3 times because I thought it said "hickory" and I kept thinking, "what the h*ll is a hickory?". I finally had succumbed to my own curiosity, and began to read your blogpost when I discovered the word was actually "hickey". So glad my curiosity got the best of me!!


Tabitha June 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

Does this confirmation of your Mother's wisdom also mean my Granny was right when she told me that swallowed chewing gum wraps round your lungs?


Chloe June 13, 2011 at 1:17 am

Andrea, you teachers are a cunning lot, aren't you?


Chloe June 13, 2011 at 1:16 am

I believe I am going to have a giveaway as soon as I figure out all the rules. There are rules, don't you know.

serendipitoussecrets: I said the same thing to my husband so he left these stretch marks instead. I think I might have preferred the hickies.


serendipitoussecrets June 13, 2011 at 12:54 am

I shared your link on facebook because I have been intrigued by that face scrubber since reading the OIl of Olay post 😉

Ironically as I am trying to post this my dh attacked my neck! He hadn't even looked at the screen to see your post! He is the only one who has ever given me a hickey and I remind him I do not want evidence of his love to show 🙂


JustMyopinion. December 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm

>_> ouch. you don’t want evidence of your husbands love..?


Andrea June 13, 2011 at 12:51 am

Sad to say, I have a daughter I may need to try the ear thing on. And Susan, when I was teaching third grade I had pretty long hair. I told the kids it was to hide the eyes I had in the back of my head that allowed me to see what they were doing at their seats while I was writing on the board. They weren't quite sure what to make of that. I figured I'd take any advantage I could get.
And I'll enter. Susan already has a face scrubber. Granted she'd have to walk to her kids' bathroom, but I'd have to go all the way to the store. That's much farther.


Susan in the Boonies June 13, 2011 at 12:33 am

I'll enter, because I'm tired of walking to my kids' bathroom to get the face scrubber. They need their own.

I shared your link on facebook.


The Reader June 12, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Well, just to be safe, I shall limit all hickeys to regions not in the neck and not near any major arteries. That ought to work. And is more fun anyway, I hear…..

LOL at the red ears; I wonder if my boys are young enough to try that on……


Chloe June 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Susan, that's a great story.

I once knew a man who might have been my husband that had a mother who told him that when he lied his ears turned red. After that, when he lied he'd cover his ears instantly giving himself away. He didn't figure it out until he was a teenager that this was how his mom was figuring out when he was lying.


Chloe June 12, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Oh, darn it! My mother passed away and took this knowledge with her. Since she apparently was the one with the foreknowledge that someday one woman in the entire history of ever would actually have this happen, I'm assuming she knew all the other details as well.

The lady who was paralyzed got her hickey on an artery in her neck, so I'm thinking it has to be on the neck in order for the clot to be able to get to your brain. The article says the clot went to her heart and gave her the stroke, but that would have been a heart attack, not a stroke. So I don't know.


The Reader June 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I'm afraid I need clarification…is it only neck hickeys that can kill? Are other locations safe?? Or can those be deadly too….?? Inquiring minds want to know…….


Anonymous June 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm

When I was in kindergarten, my friends and I wanted to know what it was like to drink from the hampster's nifty water bottle. One of the teachers saw us and then told the other teachers in a very loud yet somehow confidential sounding voice that people developed Spock ears from drinking out of hamster bottles. We were so very scared for about a month. Mean old man or smart teacher? You decide. I already know what I think.



Chloe June 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm

As a mom, I say tell 'em whatever works.


Julia (Jmmom) June 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Ummm….how about "they just look nasty"? That's enough for me. 😉


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