You might be thinking of snow to rehydrate yourself because it is just made of water. Snow doesn’t work like drinking water when it comes to hydration due to many factors.
Snow is often mistaken as a source of hydration when water is scarce, but it’s not a reliable solution. While snow is made up of water, the freezing process that creates snow removes its beneficial properties. Eating snow can lead to dehydration instead of preventing it, as the body uses extra energy to warm up the cold snow.
Additionally, snow is not a consistent source of water and may not contain the necessary minerals and nutrients that the body needs. Safe hydration sources in the wild include running water, which can be purified and consumed. It’s important to remember that snow is not a reliable source of hydration and can actually cause dehydration.
But what if you eat it?
What happens if you eat too much snow?
Will Snow Really hydrate You? if it then how much?
Let’s discuss the facts about eating snow and dehydration straight away!
In this article, we will be covering:
What is Dehydration
It is the condition in which your body loses more fluids (due to diarrhea, or vomiting) than you consume. The followings are the common symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry mouth
- Less frequent peeing
- Dark yellow pee
- Muscle cramps
- Fast breathing & heartbeat
Does Eating Snow Dehydrate You?
Yes, eating snow dehydrates you. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, eating snow will not produce the same results. When you eat snow or ice, you are consuming water in a solid form & you need to melt it down first which will require energy. When you are sick or dehydrated, your system is already overloaded. Your body will need more fluids to convert ice into water, ultimately eating snow dehydrates you.
In addition, the structure of snow is such that, as it falls, it tends to catch air pollutants and other toxins present in the environment. By the time snow reaches the ground, it becomes totally unsafe for consumption.
In effect, eating snow may not be very good for your body and your hydration levels. In cold weather, you must look for hydration options other than snow or ice.
Eating snow can also cause hypothermia, which means that your body loses heat faster than it can produce. This significantly reduces your body temperature quickly, which can turn fatal.
Eating ice or snow can hurt your lips and tongue, causing wounds. All in all, eating snow or ice, especially in freezing weather is not such a good idea.
Does eating Ice Hydrate you?
Chewing and swallowing ice offers the same hydration benefits as water, but since ice cubes contain limited amounts of water, it is unlikely to provide adequate hydration if relied upon as the sole source.
Also Read: Itchy Throat Remedies For Quick Relief And Prevention
Myth #1: Is It Safe to Eat Snow?
One of the most common myths about the outdoors is that eating snow is a safe and easy way to hydrate yourself. However, this is not entirely true. While it is true that snow is made up of water, eating snow can actually cause more harm than good. Here’s why:
Eating snow lowers your body temperature: When you eat snow, your body temperature drops because the snow is much colder than your body temperature. This drop in temperature may lead to hypothermia, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Eating snow can cause dehydration: Eating snow can actually cause dehydration because your body needs to use more energy to melt the snow before it can be absorbed. This may leads to a decrease in your body’s fluid levels and make you feel even more dehydrated than before.
The bottom line is that eating snow is not a safe way to hydrate yourself when you’re outdoors. Instead, make sure to bring enough water with you, or have a way to filter or purify water from natural sources such as rivers or streams.
Myth #2: Dehydration Only Happens in Hot Weather
Another common myth is that dehydration only happens in hot weather. However, dehydration can happen in any weather, even when it’s cold outside. In fact, when you’re in cold weather, it can be even more challenging to recognize the signs of dehydration because you may not feel as thirsty.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. This can happen when you’re sweating a lot, but it can also happen when you’re breathing heavily in cold weather or at high altitudes.
To prevent dehydration, it’s essential to drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day, regardless of the weather conditions. Make sure to pack enough water for your trip, and if you’re going to be outside for an extended period, consider bringing a water filtration system.
Also Read: Dehydration Effects On Brain & Body Health
What if snow is the only option left to You?
So, you are thirsty, you have run out of your supply of water, and you need to hydrate to stay alive. What are your hydration options?
The best thing is to
- Melt ice or snow into water and drink it : This process helps you avoid further dehydration.
- Removes any contaminants present in water: Snow can act as a magnet for pollutants, bacteria, and toxins.
- Safe to consume: Melting snow into water ensures that the water is safe for you.
You may not always have the equipment to melt the ice or snow. What can you do in that case?
- If you have a water bottle or any container, fill it with snow and place it close to your body inside your cold-weather clothing.
- Your body heat will slowly melt the ice and turn it into water. Be mindful of cold weather-induced injuries and hypothermia when doing this.
If eating snow is your only option, then ensure to slowly suck on it after placing it in your mouth. This way your body gets enough time to bring the temperature of snow to match your body temperature. Never chomp on the snow quickly.
The same goes for ice. If you want to hydrate with ice, suck on it slowly and gradually.
Finally, a tip!
When you plan to eat snow or use melted snow for drinking, always use white snow. Pink snow or watermelon snow, while attractive, is a home for algae and can be disastrous if consumed. Also, dirty snow is, well, dirty and unsafe.
It’s important to remember that not everything you hear about the outdoors is true. Eating snow is not a safe way to hydrate yourself, and dehydration can happen in any weather, even when it’s cold outside. By debunking these myths and understanding the facts, you can enjoy your outdoor adventures safely and confidently. Remember to always stay hydrated and be prepared for any situation that may arise.
Eating fresh, clean snow may not kill you, but it can dehydrate you. Contrary to popular myth, it doesn’t help you balance your lost body fluids. When looking for hydration options, fluids are your best bet.