Most of us have a pretty good idea of what is and isn’t dangerous. Things like plane crashes for example. Those are definitely dangerous. Or animals with sharp teeth. How can those not be dangerous? Have you ever seen a shark? Yup, definitely dangerous (which is why they are in our 25 most dangerous animals list). The truth is that we are actually programmed to decipher dangerous situations. The reason people have phobias of heights is because throughout history such people have tended to live longer (they didn’t usually fall off of cliffs for example). So heights are still a threat right? Well, yes, but the world we live in has changed significantly. For example, lets go back to the dangerous airplanes. People tend to think that airplanes are dangerous. Why? Well, in part because of our various phobias and built in mechanisms that we use to interpret danger around us (for example our fear of heights). The problem with this is that our built in phobias don’t take modern engineering into account. We don’t instinctively realize that driving is significantly more dangerous than flying. All our bodies know is that the plane is higher in the air, we don’t have control of it, and it is moving very fast. Flying versus driving aren’t the only activities in which we misjudge the danger. These are 25 things people don’t realize are actually quite dangerous.
Drinking alcohol and taking tylenol
By themselves and in moderation these things are not that dangerous, but put them together and get ready for a trip to the hospital.
This may sound silly, because who wouldn’t think that fighting is dangerous? What people don’t realize, however, is just how easy it is to never get up again. Every year numerous people get hit the wrong way, or fall and smash their head the wrong way, and that’s the end. You may want to punch someone in the face but just know that you could easily end up facing manslaughter charges.
Texting while driving
Ok, so you’re an ace driver, but it’s not even necessarily that you are going to make more mistakes while texting. It’s how you are going to react to other people’s mistakes.
As if texting while driving isn’t bad enough, driving itself is already one of the most dangerous things you do on a daily basis. We know you’re afraid of flying but you have no idea how much safer it is. Every time you get in a car your chance of dying skyrockets.
Leaving a toothache untreated
Although it’s usually an easy fix, if you don’t get it looked at it has the potential to turn into an infection that can even affect your brain.
Not getting vaccinated
A significant proportion of our increased life expectancy has to do with the fact that we have vaccines against diseases that used to ravage entire societies. Believing the fraudulent and disproved study about getting autism from vaccines is not only dangerous to you but also the people around you.
One sunburn drastically increases your chance of getting skin cancer. In fact, even tanning increases your chances. How? Tanning is your body reacting to your DNA being affected by UV radiation, thus releasing more melanin. Basically, the tan you have is your body trying to prevent itself from being damaged any further. Furthermore, skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to prevent (yet it is incredibly lethal and quick to kill if it is not caught). Also, dark skinned people are not exempt. It may even be more dangerous because it becomes harder to spot the cancer on the skin. Basic advice – protect yourself.
The cinnamon challenge
Eating a spoonful of powdered cinnamon has the potential to kill you. How? It absorbs all of the water in your mouth which could end up blocking your airway when you can’t swallow the cinnamon because you have no liquid in your mouth to make swallowing possible. Capsaicin, one of the ingredients in cinnamon (and an active ingredient in chili peppers) is also a terrible thing to have in your lungs and can complicated matters even further.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time (like on long flights) can lead to blood clots forming in your legs and then circulating into your heart, causing a heart attack. Furthermore, even over the long run sitting every day (like at work) has been found to correlate with numerous health problems in the same way as smoking and obesity.
Doing electrical work
Unless you know what you are doing, you should not mess with this. 120V is more than enough to kill you.
Although you probably know that motorcycles are more dangerous than cars, you may not realize how much more dangerous. Just to give you an idea, people in the medical field sometimes refer to them as “donor cycles”, because they often lead to organ donations.
Not the big scary carnivorous ones. You already know those are dangerous. What people don’t often realize is that domesticated herbivores can kill you just as quickly. In fact, most human deaths due to animal attacks are from hippos, elephants, bison, and moose.
While you may know how to swim, many people don’t. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among young people.
Next to smoking, obesity is one of the worst things you can do to your body. In fact, most preventable diseases could be avoided by not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight through activity and diet.
Not seeing a doctor
As long as you live in a country with affordable and accessible healthcare, you should definitely try to see a doctor if you sense anything out of the ordinary. Things like cancer are often diagnosed for just this reason. But of course, if it’s just a cold then you might as well rest.
People tend to underestimate how bad breathing non-air particles actually is. One of the primary sources of this, besides smoking, is air pollution. Living in cities like Los Angeles can have a very noticeable effect on your health.
Drinking too much
If you are a college kid, here is a newsflash – blacking out doesn’t just mean falling asleep. It also introduces the very real possibility of choking on your vomit.
More specifically, popping zits in the danger triangle of the face (roughly between the corners of your mouth and the bridge of your nose). Superficial infections here can spread to the brain and cause things like meningitis.
Inhaling paint/gasoline fumes
This goes for basically any chemical. It can mess you up in ways you don’t want to be messed up, from cancer to brain damage.
Diving into water
As long as you can see the bottom and know you have clearance, you should be ok. Numerous people, however, are paralyzed every year because they break their neck diving into shallow water.
Not sleeping actually impairs your judgement worse than alcohol. Moreover, the long term effects of not sleeping include everything from weight gain to mental health issues.
Hiding under an overpass as shelter from a tornado
This myth has actually caused quite a few fatalities. Although you’d think you would be safe there, the wind from the tornado is actually channelled and focused through that recess which makes it much easier to get clobbered by debris. A better option is to lay face down in the lowest place you can find (a ditch) and cover your head.
Petting a dog for the first time on top of the head
Although this is what most people do, it can cause some dogs to snap because it is a sign of dominance and they can’t see your hand. Your best option is to let the dog sniff the back of your hand first. Once he realizes you are not a threat, and licks you, you can pet under or to the side of the head.
People think sharp knives are dangerous, but it is the dull knives you need to watch out for. Sharp knives cut the way you would expect while dull knives tend to slip off food or whatever else you are cutting. Furthermore, they require more force to actually cut.
Swimming in the ocean
While most people are afraid of sharks, this is not why you should be afraid of swimming in the ocean. Rip currents are much more common threats. If you get yourself caught in one, don’t swim against it! The general advice is to swim perpendicular to the direction of the current (which would usually mean parallel to shore).