10 Survival Tips That Could Get You Killed

You might think that binge watching Survivor or reading a few camping websites is enough to turn you into a fully-fledged nature-punching, survivalist badass But the reality is that many of the outdoors-y tricks you’ve picked up are just myths

And following this inaccurate advice isn’t just stupid, it’s potentially life threatening From whether or not to start glubbing on your own urine, to what to do when a bear wants to eat you, these are 10 Survival Myths That Could Get You Killed 10) Punching Sharks DRAFT 224 I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you The good news is that your chance of being attacked by a shark is so vanishingly small that you’re more likely to get taken out by a coconut or a vending machine The bad news is that sharks have cold dead eyes, powerful jaws and row after row of hand-sized dagger teeth So if you do end up swimming near one, your chances of not becoming shark sandwich meat are also vanishingly small

That’s why it’s so strange that most people think that fighting off a shark is as simple as just thwacking them in the nose I know you all like to think you could deck Jaws But it’s important to remember that sharks tend to live in the water At least when they aren’t teaming up with tornados to dive bomb C-list actors Humans on the other hand weren’t designed for underwater boxing

Submerged up to his neck and treading water, even a professional fighter like Floyd Mayweather couldn’t throw a solid punch Although on the plus side at least we’d get to see Floyd Mayweather eaten by sharks If you have to fight a shark, try clawing at its gills and eyes It’s not as cool as punching out a great white, but it is far, far more likely to work 9) Drinking Your Own Urine Let’s be honest, we’re all pretty glad this one is a myth

It may be Bear Grylls’ go-to move, but few of us would consider necking your own piss a great time The perceived wisdom is that, in times of severe dehydration, drinking urine is a great way to recycle the water in your body Actually, the more dehydrated you are, the more dehydrated your urine is That means that by the time you’ve gotten desperate enough to start lapping up your own fluids, there’s basically no point In fact, there’s good reason to think that drinking urine is a very, very bad idea

And, no not just because of the taste The US Army’s Field Manual specifically points out that urine has a high sodium content, which speeds up dehydration On top of which, if someone is on the verge of collapsing from the heat, drinking fresh, hot urine has been known to tip their heat regulation over the edge and cause the body to shut down and die Don’t worry though piss enthusiasts, dipping a bandana in urine and wearing it has proven an effective way of remaining cool Although it’s still yet to catch on as a fashion trend

8) Emergency Cricothyrotomy There are few problems in life where the generally accepted solution is “Dude, you should stab that guy’s throat with a pen” But that’s what the standard practise is for emergency cricothyroidotomies An emergency cricothyroidotomy is a surgical procedure used to prevent someone with something stuck down their throat from choking I say ‘surgical procedure’ but maybe that’s too grandiose a term for ‘ramming a pen down someone’s throat’ By thrusting a pen into someone’s windpipe, you can create a temporary alternative airway for them to breathe through

While this incredibly delicate procedure is potentially life-saving, it’s worth pointing out that most people aren’t surgeons In 2016, a group of German researchers had 10 people try the procedure on cadavers 9 of them ended up punching massive holes in the bodies’ necks And only one managed to create a viable airway Even doctors try not to do cricothyroidotomies if they can avoid it

Oh, and when they do them? They use specially made medical tubes Not a biro they happened to have in their pocket 7) Propping mouths open during Seizures Let’s move from shoving stuff into people’s throats to shoving it down their throats With over 39 million people worldwide suffering from epilepsy, it’s not unlikely that, at some point, someone will break down into a seizure in front of you If that happens, the conventional wisdom is to pry open the epileptic’s jaw and put something like a pad of paper or your fingers under their tongue

Why on earth would you react to someone shaking on the ground by cramming miscellaneous junk into their mouth? To stop them swallowing their tongue of course So, let’s break this myth down First of all, it’s literally impossible to swallow your own tongue I mean, it would be a bit of a design flaw if you were constantly at risk of choking to death on something you keep stored in your mouth Secondly, it is perfectly possible to choke on the random objects if people decide to force into your mouth

That means anyone who believes in this myth could end up putting epileptics in more danger than if they did nothing at all Remember kids: do the right thing Do nothing at all 6) Drinking water from a Cactus I’ve already told you that drinking your own piss is a no go But if there’s one thing people know about desert survival, it’s that thirsty travellers can simply slice open a cactus and drink from it

The myth goes that cacti have water stored inside them, and that you can cut them open and drink from them should you get lost in the desert The problem is it’s just that: a myth You see, living in a desert means cacti have to take various measures to protect their water That’s why they’re bristling with spikes and your rhododendrons aren’t One of these measures is mixing all the water they hold with a deadly mix of acids

If a human tries to drink from a cactus it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even paralysis Vomiting, diarrhea and paralysis sounds a lot like my last Friday night But in the middle of a desert any one of those three could easily be a death sentence 5) Tying A Tourniquet If you’ve ever seen an action movie, you’ve seen a tourniquet The medical technique became a favourite of Hollywood after script writers realised they wanted to show their heroes getting shot, but not follow it up with two and a half hours of those same heroes weeping and bleeding in the corner

Hence the popularity of the makeshift tourniquet When a Rambo or a Mad Max gets shot in the arm, they simply wrap some clothing tightly round the area This cuts off blood supply to the area, stopping the bleeding After all, Mad Max doesn’t have time to bleed He’s got to go get drunk and yell at policemen

Unfortunately, the downsides of the tourniquet massively outweigh any potential benefits Cutting the blood supply to, say your arm, does stop the bleeding Obviously But blood is actually what keeps that arm alive Without a fresh supply of it blood the tissue of your flesh will start to die and rot

Tying a tourniquet around a limb massively increases the chances that you’ll have to amputate it later Not to mention the greatly increased risk of fatal infection created by dragging your own rotting limbs around 4) Starting Fires In Caves When you’re stuck out in the unforgiving wilderness, hiding away in a cave with a campfire seems like a pretty good idea After all, it was good enough for cavemen And they managed to survive living at the same time as giant hairy elephants and tigers with swords for teeth

But actually it turns out that a cave is a terrible place to start lighting flames The heat from the fire causes the rocks overhead to expand, which can lead the roof of the cave to collapse This isn’t just a hypothetical danger either In 2009, a group of teenagers were camping in Shropshire in Britain After settling down in a cave, the group started a two metre tall campfire which caused the top of the cave to break and one teen, Aiden Brookes, to be crushed to death

If you’re out in the open, the fire is definitely your friend It’ll keep you warm, and scare off predators Plus you can roast marshmallows and stuff But if you’re in a cave and want to keep warm, your best bet is to line the cave floor with grass It’s not the most comfortable or elegant flooring

But hey, this is survival, not interior decoration 3) Getting drunk to keep warm Imagine you’re stuck in the desert with the sun setting overhead It’s getting cold and you need some way to keep warm Well whatever you do, don’t reach for a bottle of liquor You know, unless you’re trying to wash the taste of piss and cactus vomit out of your mouth

Apart from the fact that life and death situations are rarely great times to be off your face, booze actually makes you lose heat faster Alcohol dilates blood vessels, diverting heat away from your core and towards your skin That’s why your uncle gets rosy cheeks after drinking too much wine at Christmas dinner and telling everyone he doesn’t like the Irish This, coupled with the fact that alcohol reduces your body’s tendency to shiver, means drinking can dramatically speed up hypothermia If you are looking for a drink to help you fend off arctic conditions, stop pounding body shots and have a cup of ginger tea

It’s naturally thermogenic, meaning it’ll warm you up from the inside Still, it won’t get you smashed 2) Trying To Outrun A Bear If you’re wandering around the the woods and suddenly come across the bear from The Revenant, don’t run away I know, I know It sounds crazy

After all, when you stumble across a two and half metre wall of teeth and claws, moving in the opposite direction as fast as possible seems like a pretty good idea The problem is, you’ll never be able to outrun a bear Adult grizzlies can reach top speeds of 56 kilometres an hour For comparison, Usain Bolt’s fastest speed is 43 kilometres an hour And that’s on an athletics track, not through an uneven woodland full of scattered branches and the bones of previous bear victims

If you try and leg it, the bear will catch you Then he’ll eat you Then he’ll buy a ticket to Hollywood and finish off Leo for good Your best option, and it’s not a great one, is to calmly retreat as slowly as possible Hopefully, the bear will realise that you’re not a threat and leave you alone

If a grizzly does attack your best bet is to fight back as best you can, using stones and branches as weapons if possible If you do, there’s a slim chance of proving too much hassle for it to fighting with Or, you know, you could just accept the sweet release of death Whatever’s easier 1) Removing Objects From Yourself Whether it’s getting stabbed, shot, or impaled, no-one’s a massive fan of having lumps of metal suddenly thrust into them

Well maybe there are some people; the internet’s a strange, strange place On the whole though, getting a blade rammed through you leads to the pretty natural reaction of wanting to take it out as soon as possible But that approach is actually far more dangerous than simply leaving the blade in for a while Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you live the rest of your life with a sword buried in your abdomen But you're better off staying impaled until a professional surgeon can remove it without causing massive internal damage

And while you’ll want a doctor to yank out that cutlass fairly quickly, there’s actually no rush at all to remove bullets Being pumped full of bullets is actually ridiculously safe Which is not a sentence I ever thought I’d say The immense heat bullets reach when fired sears all most of the germs off, making them virtually sterile In fact, doctors will often decide it’s safer to leave bullets in rather than risk surgery

Some historians even argue that Presidents Garfield and McKinley would have survived their assassination attempts, if only the doctors had stopped trying to dig around in their gunshot wounds So, that was 10 Survival Myths That Could Get You Killed Which first aid fallacies did you believe? Which survival hack was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below And now you know the myths, learn the truth and keep yourself alive with 10 Life-Saving Facts Everyone Should Know, playing now

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