There is something magical about playing in the snow, building a snowman, snowball fights and catching snowflakes. This is something we all have done and had been a childhood tradition for kids everywhere. Even though it may seem innocent enough, eating snow can potentially be hazardous to the person’s health. Have you thought about what is inside that snow? To determine if eating snow is dangerous you should consider the following:
Snow has the risk of having chemicals or bacteria from snow removals, dirt and animal stool or urine, especially if it’s been on the ground for a couple of days.
Most people have good immunity and don’t eat enough snow to affect them. Others may get an upset stomach and experience some diarrhea. Someone who eats a large amount of snow, or snow with a large amount of contamination, could be very sick, said Jennifer Johnson, Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine physician.
Symptoms would be dependent on what is in the snow, for instance, whether bacteria versus chemicals are present.
“Someone with immune issues is more susceptible to the infections and may have fevers, chills, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained weight loss,” Johnson said. Johnson said if you have ingested snow, it is important to let your doctor know, so they can run the appropriate tests.
If you are going to eat any snow, fresh snow may be less contaminated because it has less opportunity to collect any of those but could still contain pollutants from the air. Smoke, fumes and exhaust could be lingering in the snow.
While eating fresh snow may not kill you, it is advised that you resist the urge, unless you find yourself lost in the wilderness suffering from dehydration, there shouldn’t be any reason why you would find yourself eating snow, and not snow that’s been lying on the ground all day. And most importantly, make sure that it isn’t yellow.
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source: The Sleep Doctor