I have heard the question time and time again: Can you eat snow. The answer is Yes and No. The reason will become clear after watching this video. Read the full article: http://www.thedoityourselfworld.com/articles/article.php?id=11569
Snow itself is not harmful to you in that it is generally pure frozen water if you live in a clean environment free of contamination from cities. Snow is pure rain water that has frozen while falling from the sky. Due to it being frozen, snow generally picks up less contaminants from the air as it falls too.
Snow on the ground in clean wooded and mountainous regions is generally pure, clean frozen water droplets.
There may sometimes be some tree particles or dirt mixed in but this in itself cannot harm you. Unlike rain water in summer, there are also fewer harmful pathogens in winter snow then in rain, if any.
Therefore eating clean snow cannot harm you directly. BUT, and there is a but, eating too much snow under the wrong conditions can kill you. Here is why.
First of all, snow is cold. Its frozen water. Second, the environment is also cold. Anything you take into your body that is cold is going to reduce your core temperature.
If you eat too much snow while not moving around or keeping yourself busy, you could lower your core body temperature too much and die of hypothermia.
On the other hand if you are busy hiking or otherwise working hard, a bit of snow now and then is actually quite refreshing.
Eating some snow rather than dying of dehydration is preferable when necessary.
But the best thing that you can do is to heat your snow up and melt it into water. This will reduce any danger to yourself from hypothermia. And drinking warm water at camp can help you as well.
So, in summary, eating snow in itself is harmless under the right conditions. But eating too much snow in survival conditions could kill you.
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