The world is full of information on every subject imaginable and it is all just a click away. I mentioned our reliance on the internet and some of the possible problems in a blog post Here, but it’s not just the internet that can give us bad or unproven information. Even the old “rules of thumb” that have been handed down from our ancestors need to be looked at with equal scrutiny. The advances we as humans have made in the last 100 years in science and medicine are almost unbelievable. Each day researchers are digging deeper into all types of information and finding new and better solutions to problems we would have addressed entirely differently just a few years ago. Many of the myths that are still being spread came from a time where less was known or from a singular event where luck was on the side of the person who experienced the cure or result that spawned the advice.
One of the best ways to avoid these potentially lethal mistakes is to keep up to date on the most modern survival methods. I recommend purchasing a book that you can keep in your vehicle, home, and go/bug out bag as a reference, but don’t wait until you need to it get familiar with the information. Click the picture below for one of the books that I carry in my bug out bag:
Top 7 Survival Myths That Can Kill You
I’ll divide these into a few categories and list a few in each. I’m confident that this will continue into other posts and videos as time goes on and I learn more about the proper way to handle situations where survival and prepping is concerned.
Animal Attack Survival Myths
Sucking Venom From a Snake Bite: This is the subject of continuous debate among survival minded individuals. I personally have a Sawyer extractor kit that is supposed to be used to remove venom from a bite site. It may or may not be the answer to reducing the spread of venom, however cutting yourself and attempting to suck out poison with your mouth is not a good idea. Cutting or puncturing our skin leaves us open to additional infection with no real reason. The time and risk spent trying to cut and suck out venom would be better spent keeping the bite below heart level and removing any constricting clothing or jewelry near the site of the bite. Trying to stay calm and get to a medical facility is paramount. If you are waiting for help and want to try to extract poison, you can get an extractor by clicking the picture below.
Playing Dead To Survive A Bear Attack: While I have never been in the vicinity of bears, I have heard this over and over. While I am no authority on bear attacks, the writers at Field and Stream magazine have probably had plenty of experience and their recommendation is based on the breed of bear. Grizzly attacks in the daytime are usually a response to an invasion of territory. If you are unarmed, the writers recommend playing dead in hopes that the bear will realize you aren’t a threat and not attack or continue to attack you. A black bear, on the other hand, is more likely to attack as a predatory response. Fighting back or being aggressive can keep us of the menu! For those who aren’t inclined to carry a large enough caliber firearm to stop a bear attack, you can click the picture below for some bear spray that might give you a fighting chance.
Food And Water Survival Myths
Water Purification Myth: Flowing or Rushing Water Is Safe To Drink: We’ve all seen the movies of the cowboys kneeling to drink from the flowing mountain creek or sharing a sip from the pail and dipper on the front porch of the farmhouse and in those long-ago days it was common to hydrate that way. In modern times we have a few issues to deal with. One is that we are always “drinking downstream from the herd” when sourcing water in the wild. The number of humans and animals on the planet along with the various pollutants that have been released over the decades makes any surface water suspect. Another concern is our lessened immunity to waterborne bacteria and viruses. We have had our water sanitized so well that some of the immunity of our ancestors is likely gone. If you have to hydrate without sterilized water you should use a filter like the one below. Click the picture to get one.
Food Survival Myth: Eat All You Can if You Find A Food Source: It sounds like a great idea to pack on the calories whenever you find a source of food but this isn’t a good time to be a glutton. The longer we have gone without eating, the more gradually we have to eat to keep from upsetting our stomachs. Getting sick and vomiting is a guaranteed way to lose any food you have already eaten as well as hydration that you can’t spare in a survival situation. I have mentioned them before, but click the survival rations below to get some inexpensive pack-able food that can save you from having to gorge on whatever you find.
Navigation Survival Myths
Navigation Myth: Moss Always Grows On The North Side Of Trees: Moss can grow on any side of a tree, depending on the circumstances. This generally accepted rule of thumb is based on the idea that trees in the northern hemisphere get more sunlight on the south side because of the angle of the sun. The myth takes upon itself to assume that all trees are in the path of equal sunlight each day. The topography of the land is much more important to the way vegetation grows around trees than the compass orientation. A quality compass is the best way to navigate, however you can pick up some other tips by clicking on the book below.
Survival Shelter Myths
Shelter Myth: I Should Build my Shelter Near Water: Hydration is one of the maxims that any survivalist or prepper focuses on and preaches all of the time so setting up camp near a water source makes sense to us. Camping near a creek or river as a planned vacation can be fun, however when we are facing a survival situation and have limited resources, we have to put much more thought into the placement of our shelter. In many areas, flash floods can raise water levels by feet in a matter of just a few hours and destroy our shelter or worse, trap us in it. Another factor that should steer us away from survival sheltering close to water is the insect and wildlife activity near water at night. Avoiding hungry critters when they are eating and drinking is a pretty good survival plan by all accounts.
Shelter Myth: It’s Warm, I Don’t Need Shelter or a Fire: While the temperatures might not dictate that we have a heavily insulated shelter with a roaring fire to survive, there are still some benefits to consider. We can get wet from rain, dew, and perspiration as well as crossing or falling into water. Cotton clothing that we commonly wear is notorious for holding moisture and as soon as the sun sets, it can turn into an air conditioner on our skin. Whenever possible we should make every attempt to dry our clothing and skin so we don’t loose valuable energy trying to keep warm. Fire and shelter can also fend off wildlife and insects that make our survival situations much more miserable than they already are, not to mention the psychological boost that having a fire is to our mental health. I recommend having multiple fire starting methods including disposable lighters and fire starters like the one you can get by clicking the picture below.
Final thoughts On Survival and Prepping Myths
There are always exceptions to every rule and there is no way to catalog every possible survival situation. With that in mind, weigh out the best choices for you in your situation. A stupid idea that works isn’t all that stupid, at least in that particular case. In life we gamble daily that we can avoid injury or death. The more information we have at our disposal, the more educated of a decision we can make. If all you have is a rule of thumb or ancestral advice to go by, combine that with common sense and knowledge to make as good a decision as possible.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and I make money on qualified purchases.