Growing up in the south I have to admit that t is always very comical when a snowstorm or ice storm is approaching. I don’t mean t make light of serious situations but you have to understand that the folks here in the south are not that prepared for things such as snow or ice. At the first spotting of a snow flake the public starts freaking out. The grocery stores quickly run out of bread, milk, and bottled water. I have always been curious about the reasons behind the bread and milk, but we will save that for another day.
The default setting of most people is to quickly grab whatever they can and hope for the best. When a serious situation arises people are more prone to grab a few bottles of water and hope for the best. But the real question I always have is what happens after the 5 gallons of water you bought are gone? Then what are you going to do? Well this is why there are so many myths running wild all over the Internet. There are so many people that think water is easy to come by and that it is just as easy to purify. So let’s be really clear here. Water purification and cleanliness are 2 different things. One has to do with the overall appearance of the water and the other is all about the hidden dangers of bacteria and other pathogens.
When it comes to water there are a number of myths that need to be straightened out. Here are some of the more common myths that you might have heard of or might have even bought in to.
Just Boil It
This seems to be the go to treatment that most folks lean on. After all, boiling water is all that you need to do in order to make sure that it is clean and pure and ready for drinking right? Wrong. In fact this is such a dangerous myth that you could actually harm your entire family if you are not careful.
It is true that boiling water is a great way to start the process. However there is also this thing called time. Simply bringing your water to a boil will typically kill most bacteria and other nasty things roaming in your water. But the best way to insure that your water is safe to drink is to actually let it boil for several minutes. Once the water has boiled for approximately 10 minutes you can remove it from heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Then it is time to boil it again.
If this is not something you are interested in doing or if you simply cant bring the water to a boil then you can bring it up to around 170 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Repeating the process will help as well. Keep in mind that boiling will not kill every organism.
Dirt Is An Issue
There is a reason that we don’t include a side of mud with all of our meals. Not only is it nasty but it can be dangerous as well. Another common myth is that you can overlook muddy water simply because mud wont hurt you. Dirty water is a bad thing. Sure, there might be times when you have absolutely no other choice but to drink muddy water but this is a LAST and WORST case scenario. If you have located a source of water that is very muddy then there are a few things you can do.
The first option is to filter the water through your shirt or a towel or some other form of cloth. This will not remove the very small particles but it will remove a good bit of the dirt. Another option is to collect the water and then wait for the dirt to settle to the bottom of the water container. Once this has happened you can use the water on top and boil it.
We Can Eat Snow!
By all means, eat the snow…if you are serious about dying. Snow is obviously made from water. However there is a real misunderstanding about eating snow. Just because it is made from water does not mean that it is a good source of water. Eating snow is a poor idea for several reasons. The snow itself is very cold and once you ingest the snow your body has to work very hard to melt the snow and regulate your temperature due to the cold snow. You can actually cause hypothermia from this practice. Plus it is very likely that you will speed up the dehydration process as well.
However you can collect snow and melt it down into potable water. Once you have a good collection you can boil for several minutes.
Running Water Is Not Dangerous
Keep in mind that every source of running water has a starting point. Unless you have found the starting point then you have no idea what might be in the water. So many people think that when the water runs swiftly and across the rocks that it will be naturally filtered. This is a great way to get very sick.
A Little Salt Water Won’t Hurt Me
Wrong. Salt water is a death sentence. There is never a good time to drink ocean water. The simple explanation is that the salt content in the seawater will cause reverse osmosis in your body. The water that is already in your cells will rush out to dilute the salinity of the water you are drinking. This is a never-ending process and there is never a time when your body can actually reduce the saltiness of the water. Your cells will start to collapse and die and you will soon die as a result.
It is possible to make potable water from seawater but it will require that you make a still. He process is similar to making moonshine. Again, this is for another time.
Do not make the mistake of falling into any one of these common water myths. They can lead to serious illness and/or death. What are some other water myths that you hear circulating in the prepper community?