Why you should not drink seawater?

It so happens that almost all children like to drink water from the bath, pool, river and sea. They especially like salt water, and not only children, not only to drink. Today we will talk about why drinking seawater is not useful, harmful, dangerous… And also about other spheres of its usage, both safe and unsafe.

What happens if you drink seawater?

We often talk about osmotic phenomena in water filters, but this is not the main application of osmosis. Human, plant and animal cells have been using osmotic phenomena for very many thousands of years. A living cell is covered with a semi-permeable membrane that is able to let water, certain ions, and molecules through. Since this membrane is very soft and flexible, its integrity, as well as the cell shape, is maintained due to equal pressure inside and outside the cell.

12.1 Thirsty Solutions: Why You Shouldn’t Drink Seawater

Osmosis is designed to maintain this equilibrium by transferring solute from a less concentrated to a more concentrated medium. When pure water enters the body, it does not shift the equilibrium because its salt content is close to that of human cells. But salt water can disturb this system, because when it surrounds the cell, the fluid inside the cell tends to escape outside to equalize the equilibrium in the system. As a result, the cell shrinks and a dehydration effect is created. The converse phenomenon of bloating or cell destruction due to overfilling with water can also be observed if pure distilled water is injected into a person intravenously instead of saline.

Simply put, saltwater leads to dehydration and increases a person’s need for clean water. Of course, one sip of seawater will not make you or your child die of thirst, but drinking it systematically in the absence of other sources of drinking water can be fatal.

which contains

This was the main part of the answer to the question of why you should not drink water from the sea. Next, we will look at the simpler points that everyone needs to know, too.

Germs in seawater

In the sea, as in any other body of water, especially during the warm season, microorganisms are capable of actively reproducing. The most popular are the familiar E. coli. Enteroviruses, hepatitis A, rotavirus can also thrive in seawater. A number of factors contribute to the likelihood of spreading infectious diseases:

quite common

  • Water salinity – of course, fresh water bodies are the most favorable environment for pathogens, but they can also survive in salt water, especially when salinity is low, such as in the Sea of Azov or the Black Sea.
  • Water temperature – the warmer the water, the more favorable conditions for the reproduction of bacteria and viruses;
  • The presence of domestic sewage – fecal drains always contain E. coli, other microorganisms there are also quite common, and the discharge of sewage without treatment is a fairly developed phenomenon in many countries, the problem can also occur near large ports;
  • crowded beaches – when you go to the pool, you are required to get a medical certificate about your state of health, even taking into account the disinfection of water. But at the entrance to the beach no one asks for a certificate, and, accordingly, the more people there, the more chances that someone will be sick.

It used to be quite common practice for people to drink, drip into their nose and inhale seawater brought back from vacation six months ago. Fortunately today it has been discontinued, because bacteria love time – in closed containers they multiply and wait for a happy moment when they can settle on the human mucosa and multiply further, affecting tissues. A bottle of seawater picked up by a caring grandmother at sea could (we hope the practice has really stopped) become, if used “correctly,” a small biological weapon to destroy her grandchildren.

nasal cavity

Is there potable seawater?

Seawater in medicine

Today there are pharmacy preparations based on purified and decontaminated seawater, which are designed to be sprayed or injected into the nasal cavity. They are safe and used for hygienic procedures.

drink water

In this case, osmotic phenomena go just right, because when the concentrated saline solution hits the nasal mucosa, it is able to reduce swelling by “pulling” water directly from the surrounding tissues. An important point is also that while seawater can be good for the runny nose, it can normally cause some dryness of the nasal cavity. For daily hygiene use physiological solution, which contains only 0.9% salt and does not cause a shift of osmotic processes, unlike sea water, which contains 2.2 – 2.7% salt.

Why Fish Can Drink Salt Water And We Can’t

Seawater inhalation attracts particular attention, nebulizer, which is now in almost every home with children, and is not designed for either seawater or saline, contrary to popular misconceptions. And it can even be dangerous when used inappropriately.

Drink clean water, remember your high school chemistry and biology courses, and listen to evidence-based medicine.

And last week we found the answer to another popular question about whether you can drink a solution of sea salt, and what’s dangerous about it.

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