Survivalist TV shows have gained popularity over the years. Think Man vs. Wild and Dual Survival.
People who have lived their entire lives in cities find the idea of living and surviving in the wilderness fascinating. It makes sense because the idea of surviving in the wild and fending for yourself sounds empowering.
The downside of these programs is that they have spread misinformation and popularized bad survival advice.
This article covers some bad survival advice you probably have heard and believed.
Let’s dive in.
1. Bad Survival Advice: Ration Water
Bad survival advice: If you are lost, and have a limited water supply, ration the water and stretch it for as long as possible.
Truth: The truth is that people have died with water still in their canteens. Don’t drink all the water you have out of panic, but you don’t need to ration it.
Instead, feel free to drink a few sips of water whenever you need it. Your body will give you cues for when you are dehydrated.
Here is a little trick, if you feel thirsty, it’s mostly your mouth that’s dried. The recommended practice is to take a sip of water and keep it in your mouth for a few seconds to feel fully hydrated.
Remember that you can survive for up to 3 days without water. So use the water you have to stay hydrated and give yourself a fighting chance.
Use all your remaining resources and energy to find another water source. Your priority should be finding water as soon as possible instead of worrying about rationing water.
Rationing water may lead to dehydration much faster, which is harder to recover from than drinking less water.
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2. Bad Survival Advice: Go Back To Where You Came From Before Dark
Bad survival advice: The second you realize you are lost, turn around and return to where you came from before dark.
Truth: If you are unsure of the way back, don’t try to find your way around. Sit down and think.
Trying to find your way back when you are in panic mode will result in you getting lost even further.
Stay where you are and observe your surrounding. If you recognize something and can find your way back, then do. But it’s at night, and you have no idea where you are, gather wood, and start a fire.
3. Bad Survival Advice: Eating Raw Meat/Seafood is Safe
Bad survival advice: It is safe to eat any meat and seafood you find in the wilderness.
Bad survival advice: You have probably seen some person eating raw or dead meat in a TV show.
Unfortunately, raw meat is unsafe because wild animals contain deadly pathogens (bacteria, viruses, and diseases) that can get you very sick. If the animal was dead before you found it, never eat it.
Raw meat in the wild could be laced with deadly pathogens leading to food poisoning.
Any food you eat should be washed, sanitized, and cooked before eating.
4. Bad Survival Advice: Suck Out The Blood Where You Got A Snake Bite
Bad survival advice: When bitten by a snake, attempt to suck out as much snake venom as you can; if you have a tourniquet, use it.
Truth: This advice will hurt you faster than snake venom would. This is because snake venom can’t be absorbed by the bloodstream immediately.
If you attempt to suck it out, you will end up sucking it in your mouth and ingesting it.
So what to do if you suspect the snake venom is poisonous?
Don’t try any home remedies like icing or binding the area. Instead, call for medical help as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, keep the bitten area in a neutral position and stay calm. At this point, the ambulance should be on its way, and you will receive the antidote.
If you want to learn more about treating a venomous snake bite, check out that article.
5. Bad Survival Advice: Drink Urine For The Purpose of Survival
Bad survival advice: If your canteen is empty, drink your urine as a water source.
Truth: Urine is a waste product and it will dehydrate you even more.
Urine is not just excess water that our body is trying to discard. It also contains germs, pathogens, waste products, and a near-fatal amount of sodium.
Going without water might not hurt you as much as drinking your urine.
If you are out of clean water to drink, use a makeshift filter to purify river water before drinking it.
To make the filter, follow the following steps:
1- Cut the bottom of the bottle off and fill the neck with cotton or cloth.
2- Add a layer of charcoal (burnt wood).
3- Then, add a layer of sand or gravel.
To filter the water, add the muddy water from the top, and it will slowly filter through the sand, charcoal, and cotton to make it relatively clean enough to use.
Remember that this water might be clean enough to use for washing but not safe enough to drink.
You will need to boil this water before it’s safe for drinking.
Bonus Myth: You Can Eat What Animals Eat
Bad survival advice: It’s safe to eat anything that you see animals eating.
Truth: This is incorrect because humans and animals have different digestive systems.
Animals have evolved to be able to digest things we cannot eat.
Survivalist shows are fun to watch but are hardly an authentic source of information.
If you want to someday go on an adventure, it’s best to do your research and not believe all the things you see on TV.
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