TV medical examiner gives advice on how to cheat death

Millions of her TV fans watch her solve forensic mysteries on Dr. G: Medical Examiner. More than 7,000 autopsies have taught her that many deaths don't need to happen and there are things you can do to avoid going to the morgue early.

She's America's best known medical examiner, each week bringing you stories from the morgue on her hit show Doctor G: Medical Examiner.

She says people argue that when death comes, it's your time to die. However, she says the choices you make can play a big role on when you’ll pass on.

What is the number one thing you can do to cause your early death? It's smoking. Lighting up kills just under half a million people in the U.S. every year.

Where's the most common place to get sick? Is it grocery stores, hospitals, offices or public restrooms? Dr. Jan Garavaglia says the answer may come as a surprise to some people. “Unbelievably, the most common place to get sick is in the hospital."

1.7 million people contract infections in hospitals each year. You can pick up deadly infections on surfaces like hand railings, even your doctor's clothes. "Doctors go from patient to patient, they wear the white coat, they wear their tie,” Garavaglia says. “That can pick up germs.”

What’s your best defense? It's as simple as hand washing, and not just yours, doctors and nurses as well. "You can be obnoxious and ask them,” Garavaglia says. “You’ve got to try to make it out alive from the hospital."

What's the number one cause of death for vacationers? Is it drowning, accidental falls or heart attack? The answer is a heart attack. That's because you may do things out of the ordinary and are more likely to ignore your symptoms. "30-percent of people who die from heart disease don't know they have heart disease. Death is sometimes the very first symptom,” Garavaglia explains.

So stay aware and stay vertical.

Garavaglia says there are five ways to certify a death at the morgue: accident, suicide, homicide, natural, undetermined. But she believes we need one more, stupidity. With just a little extra thought, she says more people would stay out of the morgue and live longer lives.

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