10 Misconceptions About Things That Kill You

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Hi, I’m Elliott, this is mental_floss on YouTube. Today, I’m gonna talk about some misconceptions about deadly things and situations, so buckle up. No, really.

1. YOU SINK IN QUICKSAND. Wheat Belly: Lose the ... William Davis Best Price: $1.23 Buy New $4.39 (as of 01:10 EST - Details)

As John Mulaney said, “I always thought quicksand was going to be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be.” A 2005 study published in the journal Nature found that people can’t totally sink in quicksand.  We actually float in it, because we’re not dense enough to sink in the mixture of sand, clay, and saltwater. Even if someone struggles and wiggles like we’re told not to do, the most a person will sink is probably waist deep. At that point, if they just wait patiently for the quicksand to settle, they should be able to start floating out.

2. PULLING OUT A KNIFE IS BETTER THAN LEAVING IT INSIDE YOU.

If you get impaled by any object, and I sincerely hope you don’t, you should leave it in, then call 911 or get to the emergency room. Emergency medicine physician from the University of Chicago Medical Center, Dr. David Beiser has said, “It may be plugging a hole in an artery or vein, and as soon as you take it out, you could bleed to death.”

3. IF YOU RUN OUT OF WATER IN THE DESERT, YOU CAN DRINK FROM A CACTUS. 

People may tell you that if you’re stranded and dehydrated in the desert, you should try to open a cactus for water. First of all, that is not water, okay, it’s more juicy cactus pulp, and second, that juicy cactus pulp contains a lot of toxic alkaloids, which can make a person vomit or have diarrhea, which will only make them more dehydrated. So just, if you’re out there, just good luck.

4. IF YOU’RE DEHYDRATED, YOU CAN DRINK YOUR OWN URINE.

Gross. Many people have claimed that drinking their own urine has saved them in desperate situations. Lookin’ at you, Bear Grylls, okay? And it’s true that this will work for a day or two, but 5% of urine is waste products that your kidneys are intentionally getting rid of, so as you continue to pee and drink, just having a great time, partying or whatever, the urine will contain more and more waste products which are dangerous to drink. This will eventually cause kidney failure. Also, gross.

5. AN UMBRELLA WILL SLOW A BIG FALL. 

It will not. In fact, in 2013, pro-skier, Erik Roner tried to skydive with just an umbrella (well, and like, a backup parachute). It may have slowed him down a little bit at first, but within a few seconds, the umbrella flipped up, making it completely useless.

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