One thing that will help you survive in life is knowing lots of good survival tips. So far, it’s pretty consistent. But the little complication is that among all the survival advice you’ve been given since you were born, there are some very bad ones. They come either from lies in the movies, or distorted news from the media, or your brother who secretly wants you to die to inherit your parents’ fortune alone, and they are all very dangerous for you. We take care of dismantling some of them to give you a few more years in this world.
1. “You can drink your urine”
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It’s one of the great survival myths, widely relayed by guys like Bear Grylls on TV, but it’s mostly bad advice. Urine is your body’s way of eliminating waste, so drinking it will force your body to eliminate that waste again in addition to what you still had in you. Drinking your piss won’t really help you get better. Ultimately, if it’s still clear, it’s fine, but if you’re already dehydrated and your urine is dark, forget it. Look for another source of water instead.
2. “Ration your water”
This is probably the biggest mistake you can make in survival. In a hostile environment, dehydration is super fast, and the real good rule is to drink when you’re thirsty. A regular supply of water helps to keep you alive and to keep your spirits up until someone comes to help you. On the contrary, too much deprivation can lead to death faster than you think. And nobody wants to die like an idiot with a half-filled water bottle in their bag.
3. “If you’ve been bitten by a snake, you need to know what species bit you”
People are sometimes advised to find out what kind of snake bit them so they can be treated more easily in the hospital. This is bad advice. It’s better to call the emergency services as soon as possible rather than waste time identifying the culprit. The health personnel will know what to do and will have the anti-venoms available to treat you. And of course, even if it seems logical for many, you should not try to catch the snake in question at all, it is useless and dangerous. Afterwards, maybe you like danger, and maybe you want to shorten your life, but at least now you know what to expect.
4. “Sucks a snakebite to suck out the venom”
That too is a huge myth. Because okay, we might find it logical to want to suck the venom out as soon as possible, but sucking the wound is a really bad idea. It’s doubly a bad idea, even. It can cause superinfection of the victim’s wound and also poison the sucker via the mucous membranes of the mouth. Basically, it does more harm than good. The safest thing is to immobilize the victim as much as possible while waiting for help to avoid spreading the venom too much. A piece of advice that is quite easy to put into practice.
5. “If you get stranded on a desert island, run away”
In reality, it’s quite the opposite. It’s much easier to find someone on a desert island than a poor guy lost in the open sea on his raft. And resources to survive, there are many more on land than on sea. You will therefore have more chances of playing Robinson Crusoe rather than attempting the great crossing with your little volleyball.
6. “If you get lost in the forest, get help”
DON’T MAKE IT BIG CRAZY. Well, actually, it depends on the type of forest. If it’s a small forest, you can go straight for quite a while and eventually you’ll find civilization, but if you’re in a big forest, it’s better to stay put. The more you move, the harder it becomes for rescuers to find you. Instead, prepare a shelter in case you have to spend the night there. Yes, we know, it’s scary, but that’s how it is.
7. “In the desert, you can drink the water from the cactus”
If you find yourself in the middle of the desert and you’re looking to save your water supplies, you may be tempted to turn to the cactus as seen in the cartoons. After all, water flows through them, so the idea seems pretty good. The only concern is that most of the cacti you come across are poisonous. They will give you headaches, nausea, and, worse, a good diarrhea which will accelerate your dehydration. So unless you’re well-versed in botany, stick to your water bottle and other desert survival tips.
8. “Moss always grows on the north side of trees”
It’s one of the first tips you hear when you’re getting ready to go into the forest, but you really shouldn’t take it literally. Moss grows out of direct sunlight, so it can indeed be more easily found on the north side in forests in the northern hemisphere, but in dense forests it often grows all around trees. And in the southern hemisphere, the moss will grow more on the southern side. In short, if you rely a little too much on this rule, you especially risk getting lost. Take a compass with you instead.
9. “Don’t be afraid of bears, just face them, raise your arms and make noise”
This advice is valid only for black bears, which are rather fearful. It is much less so for brown bears and other grizzlies who are less fearful, therefore more likely to knock you out, even if you gesticulate in front of them while shouting in your most beautiful voice. The real good advice is therefore not to approach them if you see them in the distance, to back up very slowly while speaking softly if they are in front of you, and to play dead on the ground if by misfortune they come to attack you. .
Finally, if you see a polar bear, stay far away from it because it likes meat a lot. And if you’re REALLY unlucky and he’s interested in you, stay together with your friends, make a lot of noise and don’t start running. Pray very hard too.
10. “You have to hit the biggest guy in prison on day one to prove you’re tough.”
It’s the best way to find yourself in the hospital at the start of your sentence and to live through hell during the following months. To survive in prison, it is better to behave normally and follow the rules. Quite “simply” (with big quotes anyway).