Water, the element of life, makes up more than 60% of our body weight. While some organisms can survive for long periods of time without it, it is absolutely necessary for human beings to consume water on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, most living beings can survive for undetermined periods of time without food, while some microorganisms can even live without oxygen. But no living thing, however, can live without water.
You see, water flows through your blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the cells within your muscles while flushing out toxins and wastes. It is also responsible for making up most of your soft tissues. It is scientifically proven that human beings cannot digest or even absorb food without water, thus our constant need of hydration on a daily basis.
Given how daily fluid intake is imperative for a person’s survival but food isn’t, we cannot help but wonder why that is. First of all, most relatively healthy human beings have several weeks worth of reserve energy stored as fat that their bodies can burn when necessary to create energy. Water, on the other hand, cannot be stored within the body the same way as calories, mostly due to the fact that our bodies cannot ‘break up’ water to basic chemicals the same way our bodies handle food intake.
So how long can you live without water in situations when water isn’t available? The short answer would be 3 days. The time a healthy human being can live without hydrating themselves in no more than thee days. However, in desperate circumstances, some people have managed to live between 8 to 10 days without water, but it all comes down to how much energy you are forced to use during this time.
Survival experts swear by something they call ‘the Rule of Threes’, according to which, a human being can live for 3 hours in a freezing environment without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Yes, believe it or not but most human beings can survive around 2-3 weeks without eating, provided they hydrate themselves properly and aren’t physically hurt in any way.
Interestingly enough, temperature also plays an important role in determining how long can a person live without water. Should the temperature be around 21 degrees Celsius, a person could live up to 4 days without water, whereas in warmer temperatures, say 40+ degrees Celsius, a person could at best live a little more than 2 days. Furthermore, should a person be exposed to the sun, dehydration could set in sooner in just a couple of hours.
During hot summer days, an adult sweats up to 1.5 liters of water every hour, even more if they are engaged in any sort of intense physical activity. It should be said, however, that without proper hydration, you would most likely die of a heat stroke before dehydration. Heat strokes are likely to happen to even the strongest of us if not properly hydrated during heat waves, regardless of age, gender, or physical condition.
The first stages of a mild dehydration involve decreased saliva and less urination in a person, symptoms that aren’t likely to get any worse should you hydrate at that point. If not, chances that you will experience a moderate dehydration, during which you are likely to have a dry mouth, extremely dry eyes and an increased heartbeat.
The next and final stage is severe dehydration. When experiencing severe dehydration, a person’s body releases almost no urine or sweat, they begin vomiting, and they become increasingly lethargic while their skin turns to a blue-gray color and cold to the touch. This is the point where people usually go into shock as their blood pressure drops followed by death.
With this in mind, try your best to stay hydrated at all times, especially during the summer. Of course, some people have been known to survive for days without water under extreme circumstances, but if you live in an urban environment, chances are that the heat coming up from the pavement will cause a heat stroke before you experience any of the dehydration stages we talked about.
Last but not least, keep in mind that the average human being requires 2 liters of water every day in order to function properly, so make sure you drink plenty of water on a daily basis.