As with everything in survival there are a lot of rumors floating around about what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to staying hydrated and water survival, there is no exception. We’ve found a number of the most prevalent urban myths and dangerous rumors that have been passed along and decided to address them here.
1. Running water is safe to drink
Don’t count on it. Remember it came from somewhere and the source or what it came in contact with between the source and reaching your location could be suspect. Typically if you have to choose between running water and stagnate water always default to the former but make sure you also treat and purify the water before you consume it.
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2. Eating snow is a great way to rehydrate safely
NO, This can actually lead to further dehydration due to the process your body has to go through to heat and melt the snow once you eat it. It can also lead to hypothermia. Also, if the snow has been on the ground for a significant period of time it could contain bacteria and other organisms that can make you sick. Always try to melt snow before you consume it. If the snow is not white & fresh, stay away from it or at least make sure you purify and treat it as you would any other suspect water (after you melt it).
NO NO NO. Drinking saltwater in any amount will lead to further dehydration and DEATH more quickly than if you went without water at all. You can use saltwater to cool down your body but never to drink.
4. Water found in natural depressions is safe to drink
NO, this should be treated before drinking. It has all the risks associated with stagnate groundwater and runoff.
5. Drinking urine will prevent dehydration
You can drink urine 1 to 2 times in an extreme emergency but remember, urine is how you pass waste products out of your body. There is more water than waste products in a well hydrated individual however the ratio goes down as your hydration levels go down. Hence your urine will become darker colored as you become more dehydrated. To turn around and put those waste products back into your body and force it to process and filter them again causes more work and bogs your body systems down. This forces your body to need more water to complete the body processes and once again try and pass these waste products yet again, in addition to the new waste products created by the increased workload. It is a process of diminishing returns and eventually your body will shut itself down.
6. Barrel Cacti are a great source of water.
This is not necessarily true. Although cacti do hold water, the odds are that the inside will be tough and fibrous and the water contained will not be abundant. In addition there is a greater likelihood that the water inside will be bitter and acidic which could induce vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. This would further complicate a survival situation and speed up dehydration.
There are probably more rumors out there that are not addressed in this article. We’d love to hear what you’ve heard in relation to water and survival, especially if you are suspect about the claim. Maybe between us and the other readers on this site we can help dispel any other bad gouge out there. The bottom line is that you are going to be better off being as prepared as possible and not risking your life as an experiment for rumor and misinformation. Water is the most important ingredient in your survival formula and taking care of ensuring that you have access to this valuable commodity will pay tremendous dividends to you and your loved ones. In future articles we will go over how to safely find and prepare water for consumption and survival.