Would You Drink Your Own Pee To Survive
A New Zealand woman in Joshua Tree National Park survived four days in the desert by drinking her own urine after injuring herself.
While humans can go three weeks without food, you can only last about three or four days without water to drink. And for a short time, drinking your own pee can be the think that keeps you alive long enough for a rescue.
Claire Nelson was found last week in the park by Rangers who found the 36-year-old woman with a shattered pelvis from a fall.
“Nobody could hear me scream. I would have died by the weekend. I cannot believe I am alive,” she wrote on social media while in the hospital.
Nelson was in the park to hike when she climbed a boulder to get to another trail when she slipped and fell almost 23 feet.
Nelson was in agony, waiting four days to be found in heat up to 104F.
She used a tshirt over her face and head to help shield the sun, and she drank her own urine after seeing the trick in movies.
“It tasted like really bad flat beer – it is not pleasant but it is not the worst thing.”
She was able to fashion a flag to wave down a rescue copter. Her mother back in New Zealand had not seen any updates from her daughter when she decided on Thursday to contact American authorities.
Nelson was visiting Joshua Tree National Park as part of a one-year trip across Canada. All that time in the icey north must’ve left her a bit unprepared for the sun as she detoured south to visit the park.
But, thanks to her mother, she was saved.
“I thought nobody will find me at this point … to hear the helicopter and hear them call my name. I thought, oh my God, I am actually going to survive.”
Here’s an Instagram post she made a week before her injury:
Symptoms of Dehyrdation
From a medical standpoint, dehydration means that a person has lost so much water that they are unable to function normally. Apart from the symptom of thirst, other signs including:
- Very dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
- Sunken eyes
But Is It Safe To Drink Urine?
According to Primal Survivor, urine is about 95% water, but the remaining 5% is what can be problematic to drink, including sodium, urea, chloride, potassium and creatinine. But at least urine doesn’t carry bacteria (unless you have a urinary tract infection).
But, the more dehydrated a person is, the less water in the urine and the more of the other stuff.
“Your kidneys filter waste products into urine. When you drink urine, you are putting all of this waste back into your body – much of which will end up back in your kidneys.
This puts a serious strain on your kidneys [which is why] drinking urine can cause symptoms similar to kidney failure.”
Accounting for the factors, you can drink your own urine about 1-3 times before the extra compounds become too concentrated and undrinkable. But, by drinking urine, you can add an extra day or two of survival.
If it’s longer than that, you have to choose between death by dehydration or kidney failure.
Death By Dehydration
Also know as terminal dehydration. Famously, Terry Schiavo died of dehydration after her feeding tube was removed after an internationally published legal battle in 2005.
Aron Ralston’s 127 Hours
In 2003, mechanical engineer Aron Ralston survived an accident in a Utah canyon where he drank his own urine to survive and most impressively amputated his own right forearm off with a pocketknife to free himself from being trapped by a boulder.
Sources: WebMD, Primal Survivor, New Zealand Stuff