The human body contains up to 75% of water and requires up to 2 liters of water a day to avoid dehydration and function properly. Obviously, water is a fundamental part of the human life. However, under certain circumstances, water can kill you in a variety of interesting ways.
Hypothermia occurs when your body’s temperature drops under the needed temperature for normal metabolism and body functions. As body temperature lowers, symptoms such as shivering and mental confusion would begin to emerge.
What may surprise you is that the heat is lost more rapidly in water than on land, simply because the water temperature that is normal as land temperature can lead to hypothermia.
For example, a water temperature of 50°F (10°C) can lead to death in just one hour, while a freezing temperature can lead to death in just 15 minutes.
Scalding is when your skin comes in contact with heated fluids like boiling water. The majority of scalds are considered 1st or 2nd-degree burns, but 3rd or even 4th-degree burns can result in death, especially with prolonged contact.
This principle is used as an execution method in which a person is boiled to death in a large vessel. Executions of this type have been used in many parts of Asia and Europe. The victim is either placed in the large vessel before the water was heated or plunged head first into the boiling water, depending on the cruelty level.
Protracted scalding would result in a complete breakdown of subcutaneous fat, and the muscles would be exposed, leading to rupture in major veins and arteries. Surprisingly, scolding deaths can occasionally occur when individuals underestimate the temperature of a natural hot spring and enthusiastically decide to go swimming.
Waterborne diseases are caused by the microorganisms transmitted in contaminated fresh water. Infections often occur during the preparation of food, washing, drinking, or bathing. The most prominent examples are the forms of the waterborne diarrheal disease, which mainly affect children in developing countries and cause about 1.8 million deaths every year.
There are two parameters for drinking water quality, chemical and microbiological. The chemical one tends to cause heavy metals’ buildups, which lead to chronic health risks, while microbiological parameters include E. coli, Coliform bacteria, and other pathogenic species of protozoan parasites, viruses, and bacteria.
Well, ice is water in its solid state. Although the adorable snowflakes are absolutely harmless separately, their strength eventually grows in numbers. An avalanche is a massive and deadly mass of speedy flowing snow down a slope, which occurs when the forces on the snow exceed its power.
During World War I, avalanches in the event of the mountain campaign in the Alps at the Austrian-Italian front have killed an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 soldiers.
Moreover, about 86% of avalanche-related deaths are due to suffocation. If you’ve ever found yourself caught in one and managed to make a small air space around your face, the heat from your breath will soon freeze that lifesaving empty space and may suffocate you within half an hour.
Less than half of those who are completely buried do survive while anyone buried deeper than 7 ft will never live to tell about it.
Holding Your Pee (Kind of)
Obviously, drinking water inevitably leads to urination. There is a common medical myth which states that you can die by holding and forcing yourself not to pee. In fact, you can die indirectly by developing a urinary tract infection which can later lead to death, but you cannot die from a ruptured bladder because you didn’t go to the bathroom.
It’s physically impossible for urine to keep being added into your bladder to the extent of rapture, moreover, other nearby organs cannot put enough pressure to cause the bladder to explode.
In the case of an obstruction, the kidneys are the first to fail, so by trying to hold it, the body would react violently to protect the kidneys, forcing urethral sphincters to fail and eventually the person wet themselves.
Unlike popular belief, the actual cause of death is considered to be a kidney stone that prevents urine from passing. This blockage leads first to kidney failure and then to death.
Dangerous Driving Conditions
Driving in the rain is potentially deadly, mainly due to slippery roads. As people drive, greasy materials such as oil and lubricants drip from their cars and accumulate on the surface of the road until they’re washed away. The first rain can particularly loosen these greasy substances and create a slippery surface on the road which makes driving very dangerous.
A long and heavy rain can also result in deep puddles on the surface which can cause the car to skim across the water. Or the roads can be covered in small water pools that don’t seem serious or profound until you drive on them and your car spins out of your control.
Furthermore, poor visibility due to heavy rain can also be a threat to drivers, as they become less aware of pedestrians, oncoming cars, and any road hazard. An estimated 3,000 American people or more face death every year from car accidents caused by rain.
You probably don’t know that pure water doesn’t conduct electricity by itself. In fact, it’s the impurities such as salts that enable it to be such an effective conductor.
When salts are mixed in the water, they divide into negative CI ions and positive Na ions, creating that potential for the conductive effect. This dangerously allows an electric current to quickly travel through it and shock the person in contact with the water.
Big currents passing through the human body can make it impossible for the victim to let go of the energized object. Bigger currents can damage the tissues, cause heart failure, and death.
In 2012, in Knoxville, Tennessee, two boys were electrocuted while swimming in a lake because of a boat that was floating nearby at a dock and had frayed wiring which contacted the lake water. Five adults jumped into the water to help the boys but were also shocked.
Chinese Water Torture
During Chinese water torture, the victim endures slowly dripped water on their forehead which makes them go literally insane. This form of water torture was invented in 1451 by the Italian Hippolytus de Marsiliis after he observed how water drops falling one by one on a stone progressively established a hollow, thus he was inspired to apply it to humans.
The victims were tied in a position in which they cannot move, then warm or cold water was dripped very slowly on a small area of the body. The forehead happened to be the most suitable point due to its high sensitivity and so tortured people could see every single drop coming. After long durations, they were gradually driven crazy.
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the movements of an immense volume of water. Such waves can travel over 800 kilometers (500 mph) per hour! The potential generators of a tsunami include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, meteorite impacts, glacier calving, and other disturbances either below or above water.
Even though the impact of tsunamis is limited to coastal locations, their huge destructive power can even affect entire ocean basins. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history, with more than 230,000 deaths in 14 countries.
Water intoxication, also known as dilutional hyponatremia, is a potentially deadly disturbance in brain functions that’s caused by over-hydration. Accidental consumption of too much water is exceptionally rare under normal circumstances.
Almost all water-related deaths in normal people were from drinking contests or long bouts of intensive exercise. There is also a method of torture called water cure, in which the victim is forced to drink excessive amounts of water, which results in water intoxication.
Just like any other substance, water can also be considered as a poison when over-consumed in a certain period of time. In 2003, Walter Dean Jennings died while signing into a campus fraternity, as he was forced to drink gallons of water through a funnel which resulted in brain swelling from water intoxication and then death.
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