If you’ve ever had to unexpectedly dig out a turtleneck, you’re likely familiar with hickies. A “hickey” is a bruise that forms from suction—in many cases, suction stemming from one romantic partner’s mouth that causes a bruise on the other partner’s neck.
However, hickies aren’t always fun and games, as TikTok user Dr. Noman Mohamed (@drnomzzy) recently noted in a video with over 5.6 million views.
“When I tell patients if you are into the business of showing affection through HICKEYS,” he wrote in the text overlaying the video. “Learn to know where the CAROTID ARTERY is or you may end up learning what happens when someone has a STROKE.”
In the caption, the doctor added, “Yes its rare but try to avoid the area over the carotid artery when giving your love tattoo!”
@drnomzzy Yes its rare but try to avoid the area over the carotid artery when giving your love tattoo! #drnomzzy #hickey #stroke #skincaretips #hickeyremovalwhisk ♬ I Ain’t Worried – Acoustic – OneRepublic
While Dr. Mohamed is correct that such accidents are rare, that doesn’t mean that they don’t happen at all. Per a 2016 article in TIME, a hickey once caused a 44-year-old New Zealand woman to have a non-fatal stroke.
Accidents like these can be lethal. The same TIME article notes that a 17-year-old reportedly died after suffering a stroke apparently induced by a hickey.
“Doctors believe the suction of the hickey…resulted in a blood clot, which traveled to Julio Macias Gonzalez’s brain and caused a stroke, the Independent and local Mexican media reported,” writes author Melissa Chan. “The teenager had convulsions while eating dinner with his family after hanging out with his 24-year-old girlfriend and later died, the newspaper said.”
The Doctor later posted a follow-up video showing users how they can find the aforementioned artery.
@drnomzzy Guys this is rare so firstly..chill. But its still good to be aware of this and a good skill to be able to feel for your pulse! #drnomzzy #hickey #hickeyremovalwhisk ♬ Paris – Else
In the comments section of the original video, users expressed their surprise at this fact.
“Me IMMEDIATElY checkin mine n my husbands artery location,” wrote a user. “strokes run in my family n i have disorder than adds to my percentage of havin one.”
“Always thought my mom was just trying to get me to not have hickeys when she said this,” added another.
“My parents always gave me lectures if they saw hickeys on me for this reason,” shared a third.
That said, many simply made jokes about the situation.
“Knowing my luck it would happen to me,” stated a commenter.
“Uuhhh I did not know this. that would be an awkward ER visit,” offered a second.
The Daily Dot reached out to Dr. Noman Mohamed via email.