False Survival Facts: 19 Popular Myths That May Get You Killed

There are many survival myths parading around as facts that could get you killed if you don’t know any better. After someone asked an online survival community for said myths, here are their honest confessions.

1. Drinking Your Urine to Hydrate

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Have you seen examples in television and movies of people drinking their urine to survive? There are even some “survivalists” who have suggested so. However, drinking your urine won’t rehydrate you. On the contrary, it will dehydrate you at a faster rate.

2. Drinking Water From a Cactus

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Have you heard that you can drink water from a cactus if you ever find yourself stranded in a hot desert? One explains that you absolutely should not except for the prickly pear and one species of barrel cactus, the fishhook barrel (Ferocactus Wislizeni). The liquid inside cacti is highly acidic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea that further dehydrates you.

3. Shooting Epinephrine Directly Into Your Heart

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While several shows and films have captured this myth of injecting epinephrine directly into your heart, the Pulp Fiction scene is properly the best-known. One person says, “The injection of adrenaline directly into the heart is not a good idea because it can cause a micro-infarction in the myocardium.” Furthermore, it may cause brain damage. 

4. Following Birds for Water Sources

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Following flying birds to find water is not the survival advice people believe it to be. A survivalist notes that birds can fly to spend a night anywhere, so we can’t rely on them for water source accuracy.

5. Removing the Bullet

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How many times have you been watching something on television, and they nonchalantly are pulling a bullet from a wound? Someone is quick to point out, “Digging it out like in the movies will most likely cause more damage and bleeding than the bullet in the first place.”

6. Conserving Water

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Numerous survivalists explain that rationing water when thirsty isn’t a good idea. People have died from dehydration with water still on them because they were attempting to conserve it.

So instead, this user suggests that drinking water when you are thirsty is better. Then search for more water. But not in Cacti, apparently.

7. Sucking Venom Out of a Snake Bite

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Whaaaat? I’ve heard and seen this so many times that I am learning with some of you, I’m sure, that sucking the venom out of a snake bite is not something you should do. It can cause tissue damage and is ineffective. Also, the CDC warns not to put ice on it or drink alcohol to relieve pain.

8. Opening Windows During Tornado

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I’m not from an area that has tornadoes. So I’ve never heard the advice of opening all your windows during a tornado to equalize the pressure inside to match the outside. However, one warns this is wrong. Further noting that if you’re in a tornado opening windows or doors will create a wind tunnel that rips your entire roof off.

9. Treating Frostbite

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Never rub someone’s frostbite skin or pour hot water onto it to warm them up. It will damage the skin even more severely. One confesses, “I’m not sure if I remember correctly, but I feel like in Boy Scouts, they taught that the groin and armpits were good places to warm your hands in an emergency survival situation.”

10. Drinking Alcohol to Warm You Up

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Despite what Hollywood may have you believe, drinking alcohol is one of the worst things you can do to stay warm. Despite the seemingly warm sensation you may experience from taking a swig off the flask, alcohol increases your risk of hyperthermia by lowering your body’s core temperature.

11. Growing on the North Side of a Tree

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Have you heard that moss grows on the north side of a tree? As you can see, it can grow all over the tree. So one warns that it’s not a steadfast rule that you should make critical decisions solely based upon.

12. Splitting Up to Cover More Ground

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One of the biggest horror story tropes is splitting up to cover more ground. But let’s be real. It’s a terrible idea and never ends well. A Scooby Doo fan suggests, “Gotta blame Fred and Daphne for this one.”

13. Eating Everything an Animal Can Eat

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Have you heard the misinformation circulating about being able to eat anything that an animal can consume? NO! It’s not true. As one points out, some foods animals can eat are toxic to humans. So eating everything you see animals eating can lead to you potentially eating deadly berries or mushrooms.

14. Searching for Food and Water First

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Have you heard to search for food and water first thing if you find yourself in a survival situation? Me too! However, one survivalist assures that it is a myth. Instead, it would be best to establish a shelter before it gets dark and keep yourself warm and dry.

15. Grounding Yourself With Rubber Tires

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Wow. I always heard and believed this was accurate. Still, the rubber tires on a vehicle will not insulate you from the ground and protect you from lightning. However, most cars are safe from lightning. Although, it’s the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, and not the rubber tires.

16. Popping Dislocated Limbs Back In

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Someone who took a course explains never to pop a dislocated limb back into place without medical assistance. “The doctors take extreme care and use crazy amounts of drugs when doing this in the hospital, and they have a good reason to do that: If anything is caught, it will be crushed.” Also, if a blood vessel or nerve gets caught, the limb will probably need to be amputated.

17. Walking Out on Foot

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If you’re lost, stranded, or broken down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, it is best to stay with your vehicle. However, if you can walk out and know the way, do it. Also, always walk back the way you came and never forward. Someone shares, “Learned that from Survivorman. It’s better to travel where you’ve already been than to press forward into the unknown.”

18. Using a Tampon for a Gunshot Wound

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Have you heard the myth of plugging a gunshot wound with a tampon? It’s not true despite preppers and gun enthusiasts suggesting otherwise. A survivalist explains that a tampon cannot provide the surface area or pressure required to control massive bleeding.

Also, tampons absorb blood. So they do not provide any hemostatic assistance. “Gauze is made to promote the clotting of blood. It doesn’t exist to absorb blood, it does absorb it, but it gives it something to build on. Well, that’s the exact opposite of a tampon.”

19. Swimming Away When There Is a Shark

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Have you heard that you should swim away if a shark is coming after you? One man suggests otherwise, stating if a shark is coming toward you, it’s most likely just curious and wants to investigate you.

So thrashing about while swimming away will further intrigue it to keep following you. “Instead, redirect it by running your hand along its side and carefully positioning it to swim away from you.” Reciprocity of interest makes them leave while running makes them more excited.

What? That’s not what my dad taught me. My old man said that if I ever found myself in a shark attack, I should take my leg and jam right down his throat as far as I could. But, of course, he noted, “You can only do that twice.”

15 Most Successful Lies in the History of Man

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What is the most successful lie in history? Recently, a man took to an internet forum with this question, and the subsequent discussion provided these answers.

15 Real Things Men Confessed They Want More Than Anything

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Are you confused or curious about what men want? Then, we got you covered (ish), right? Of course, not all men can be stereotyped as a monolith. I know that, and you know that. However, after someone surveyed a men’s online forum, asking what they desire, these are the most discussed confessions.

15 Things You Do That Signals to Everyone Around You That You’re Insecure

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Are you able to pick up on signals from people that indicate their insecurities? You’re not alone. Someone recently asked a popular online community for …

25 Real Reasons People Have Turned Their Back to Religion and Church

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Recently, I encountered an interesting (and sad) discussion about what ruined religion for people and why they turned their backs on the church. The answers range from abuse to science denial.

15 Signs That Deep Down You Are a Terrible Person

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According to the internet, some undeniable signs signal to others when you are a terrible person. Someone asked a popular forum, “What are signs someone is a horrible person deep down?” And here is how the online community responded.

Source: Reddit.


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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.