Survival Myths that Need to be Forgotten

There’s a lot of misinformation out there on how to survive in emergency scenarios. Movies, television shows old wives tales and even myths have perpetuated incorrect ideas. If you want to know how to survive in a life threatening scenario, then you should equip yourself with the right information. This can make all the difference between living and dying.

What is a survival scenario?

A survival scenario is any situation where your life could be in danger. Although people tend to think that such scenarios are a result of random occurences, more often than not, that isn’t true.

Accidents like plane crashes, car crashes, getting lost in the woods, or getting stranded in sudden cold weather do happen randomly. However, usually human error is the main cause that leads to a survival situations.

Let’s say you went hiking for a day. You thought that your phone wouldn’t run out of charge since you were only going to need to use it for a day. 

However, you get lost while hiking and your phone doesn’t have a connection. In this situation, you would have no way of reaching out to people to find help. Without connectivity, your phone’s GPS wouldn’t work either. 

These situations do happen in real life. That is why it’s always better to be prepared for survival scenarios. That way, you can secure your health and safety. Equipped with this knowledge, you will also be able to protect your loved ones.

Survival Myths Related to Surviving in a Forest

People get lost while hiking or camping more often than you realize. That’s why bringing along the right survival kit is essential. Your Outdoors Survival Kit should contain enough food, water, and medicines to help you in case you get lost. A torch, some flares, a compass and a map of the area are also essential components of the Survival Kit.

In case you get lost in a forest or other wooded area, these are the survival myths you need to be aware of:

  • Finding food should be your first priority: This is false. A healthy human being with no underlying health conditions can survive for as long as six weeks without regular food. What is more likely to kill you is exposure to the elements or dehydration. If you find yourself lost in a forest and aren’t sure that help is arriving soon, then always find shelter first. This is to keep yourself safe from any sudden weather changes such as the rain, snow, winds, and even animals. Once you’ve found your shelter, the next order of the day is to find a clean source of water.
  • A lean-in makes a great shelter: A lean-in is easy to build, but it’s not a good shelter that can help you survive in the woods. A Lean-in can provide shelter again the Sun’s rays. It can also protect you from wind from only one direction. But when it comes to the rain or animals, a lean-in doesn’t help. Your shelter should be able to give you insulation and keep you warm. A Lean-in fails to provide these as well. Ideally, you should find a cave to take shelter in, or build a more durable shelter that provides protection against the weather and the elements.
  • Fire beats shelter: Again, this does not work in a real life survival scenario. The issue of insulation is important here as well. A fire doesn’t provide any insulation between you and the ground. It can also be put out by rain, snow, or even large gusts of wind. A shelter always takes priority if you find yourself having to spend the night outside without a tent or camping gear.
  • GPS always works: Unfortunately, technology is not infallible. While a GPS is easy to use and helps you find accurate bearings in most situations. However, it can also fail you. If your phone runs out of charge, or if you’re in an area with bad connectivity, the GPS will not work. For this reason, you should always carry and know how to use a compass and a map of the area.
  • You can drink the same water that other animals are drinking: If you try to drink from the same water source as other animals, you could fall seriously sick. The water you normally drink has been treated and its impurities have been removed. In nature, water contains sediments and biological contaminants. Sometimes, chemical contaminants can be present as well. You could wind up upsetting your stomach, or ingesting harmful bacteria that adversely affects your health.
  • Boiling water will solve all your problems: While boiling water can to a large extent remove the presence of biological impurities, the sediments ane chemical impurities would still remain. The safest way to drink water collected in the wilderness is to boil it, strain it, and purify it before consumption.

Now that you have some idea on how to get yourself set up in an emergency survival scenario, let’s look at some more myths that could put you in danger.

Myths on sustained survival in the wilderness

Don’t always assume that help will be coming soon. Unless you’ve informed the authorities already, or you’ve asked a contact to call someone if you don’t reach out within a certain time period, help may take time in coming to you.

Even in situations where you’ve informed the authority, there’s usually a procedure that is followed before help reaches you. Whe you inform the authorities, that information is relayed to emergency personnel. Then, you could be put on a waitlist depending on other emergency scenarios that are active, and how urgently you need help. While help will reach you, it’s always best to be prepared in case help takes time to arrive.

  • Building a fire in a cave will keep you warm: When rock interacts with fire, it expands. So if you start a fire inside a cave, you could create a Cave-in.
  • Rubbing two sticks together will create fire: If you don’t have matches or a lighter, you may feel tempted to try this idea. Popularized in movies and cartoons, rubbing two sticks to create fire doesn’t always work in real life. The idea is that the friction caused by rubbing the two sticks together will help create fire. The reality is that this technique is purely based on luck and consistently trying to create fire. There is no sure fire way to start a fire using this method.
  • Wet matches will work fine after they’ve dried up: In case you brought matches along, that’s great news! However, if the matches get wet, they would be useless. There is a myth that matches work once again when they are dry. But this isn’t true. The chemical makeup in a matchstick that causes the match to light on fire is disturbed if the match comes in contact with water. After this, the match will no longer work. Either bring waterproof matches with you, or keep your matches in a waterproof box.

A big danger you could face in an outdoor survival scenario is hypothermia. What should you do if you or someone you love gets hypothermia or frostbite?

Survival Myths on Hypothermia and Frostbite

Legacy Food Storage

Hypothermia and Frostbite can both be life threatening situations. You may also have to amputate your limbs if you aren’t careful. Avoid listening to these survival myths to escape such situations.

  • Immerse a person suffering from hypothermia into a hot water bath: This is a disastrous idea. If a person is suffering from hypothermia, then they need to be warmed slowly. By immersing them in hot water, you could shock their body or induce a heart attack. Instead, warm them by covering them with blankets. Place hot water bottles under their arms and legs, and slowly help them recover their core temperature.
  • Feeding a hypothermia victim: A hypothermia victim is almost always drowsy and tired. If you try to feed them to help them, they may choke on their food. Feed high calorie food in small quantities only when the person is suffering from either mild or moderate hypothermia.
  • Let a hypothermia victim sleep: Thie could cause their death. You must always keep a hypothermia victim from falling asleep until professional help arrives.
  • Rub the skin of someone suffering from frostbite: Frostbite is a result of frost forming on the person’s skin and tissues. By rubbing them, you could cause tissue damage. Instead, give the painkillers and slowly help their bodies return to a warmer core temperature.
  • Drinking alcohol when it’s cold will help warm you up: The reverse is actually true. Alcohol is known to dilate the skin. This causes the body to lose heat more quickly. Unless as a last resort, a drink like hot tea will help you warm up better.

Dehydration is another life threatening situation. What are the myths associated with dehydration?

Survival Myths about Dehydration

Dehydration can kill you. Being dehydrated is also a reality you would have to face in the wilderness. But there are some survival myths that can turn your situation from bad to worse.

  • Suck on a rock or a button: The idea is that if you suck on a rock or a button, this induces salivation in your mouth. You can then drink your saliva and satiate your thirst. However, since no actual water is being provided to your body, this doesn’t help to alleviate thirst at all. You could also choke yourself if you swallow the button or the rock.
  • Drink urine: Urine contains impurities from the body and must never be drank, not even as a last resort.
  • Drink blood: Blood does contain water, but this won’t help quench your thirst. Tribes that drink blood do it to get protein.
  • Water in cactus can save you: The water you can obtain from a cactus is scant and bitter. You’re more likely to vomit, lose the water in your body. This will make you more dehydrated than before.

The best way to drink water in a survival scenario is after filtering it properly. Not even drinking from the same source as an animal is a good idea without filtering the water to remove impurities. Rainwater harvesting however, can help you survive.

Survival Myths related to Animals

There are plenty of survival myths about animals that don’t work. Some can get you killed. A few of these include:

  • Sucking the venom out of a snake bite: This doesn’t help the victim at all. You could make their situation worse if bacteria from your mouth reaches their wounds. You could accidentally ingest the venom. This is dangerous for you as well. The best way to treat a snake bite is to keep the person calm, keep the wound below the level of the heart, and to find a hospital as soon as possible.
  • If a bear attacks you, play dead: This will not save you. First determine if the bear is defending itself or trying to attack you. If its defending itself or its cubs, then make yourself appear taller. Then slowly back away from the bear. If its attacking you, then your best shot at survival is to attack it back. Aim for the eyes or other weak areas.
  • Eating raw food or what animals eat is okay: This is always dangerous as such food contains harmful bacteria that could kill you. Sushi is different as certain species of fish contain bacteria that can’t survive in the human body.

There are many more survival myths that don’t work in real life. The best way to prepare yourself is to know about these myths, as well as what is helpful in emergency situations.

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