Should you drink blood if you are really thirsty?

by daisy
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In so many adventure movies when someone gets stranded they are usually faced with a difficult decision, do I need to drink my own urine? While you may be hungry on your stranded island you will be thirsty first and this thirst poses a greater danger than the hunger. You could die after just three days if you don’t have anything to drink while the average person could last over 8 weeks without eating, with records showing some people have lasted 25 weeks. This shows that cannibalism is never a good idea but is drinking urine? One other liquid that you may have available is blood. If you are incredibly thirsty should you drink your own blood, someone else’s blood, animal blood, or stick to the urine?

Blood is full of nutrients, it is incredibly rich in iron, so in theory, drinking blood may be a good idea. In reality, though, it is a terrible one. Drinking blood is safe if you only consume a few teaspoons although this will do you little benefit. Drinking any more than a few teaspoons and you will start to feel very sick as our bodies are simply not made to digest blood. Blood is so rich in iron that our bodies can’t deal with it. It can cause hemochromatosis to occur which could cause liver damage, low blood pressure, or nervous disorders. In the very worst case, you could drown from the inside due to a build-up of fluid in the lungs. Of course, the very worst-case scenario is that you drink the blood of someone who has a terrible disease and you not only have issues from blood consumption but also catch a nasty disease as well. Clearly, drinking your or someone else’s blood is a bad idea.

The same is true for most animals. If you ever see a pet drinking blood it will not end well so stop them and if they have drunk a lot, take them to the vet. That is unless your pet is a vampire bat. There are a number of animals that have evolved to be able to digest blood and the vampire bat is one of them. Their bodies actually use all that iron to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and are able to block too much blood from getting into their bloodstream.

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The reason we asked this question was that if you are stranded somewhere and dying of thirst, you will drink just about anything. So would drinking blood help the dehydration? Some castaways have reported drinking the blood of raw turtles and found it helpful although studies show that eating the flesh of the turtle would be far more hydrating than the blood. This means that, no, blood is not even a hydrating liquid. Hemochromatosis causes dehydration so if you drink it you will end up thirstier than before.

While we have a policy at Smart World Mag to never recommend people to drink urine, in this case, it seems like the only option. The best option is to drink freshwater or boil some stagnant water to get rid of the bacteria. Apart from these two options, urine is sadly your only alternative. When you urinate your body can only make urine that is less salty than salt water. This means that as you drink saltwater, you will need to pee and you won’t be secreting all the excess salt. This will make you very thirsty and be terrible for your kidneys. Clearly, drinking saltwater or blood is a very bad idea even in extreme situations.

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