Can You Die From Drinking Old Water: You Bet!


Water! Without water, there could be no life as we know it. Every living thing from the weeds in your garden to each person, water is more necessary than food.

While water along with oxygen is the most important needs we have, and water the most tangible, many of us have the impression that water is water, just water. Although a good question that many should ask is, can you die from drinking old water? The answer is yes! You can absolutely die. Even if you like many people, store clean, pure water in sealed containers for an emergency, but if it passes the expiration date, you can have some issues. Many of us do that when there is the possibility of earthquakes, tornados,  hurricanes, and other disasters.  But are there any disastrous issues that can occur? Let’s find out!

How Long Can You Store Water? How Long Will it Remain Safe to Drink?

Some have claimed old water can kill you. You can definitely become ill from drinking old water. Maybe it hadn’t been perfectly sealed and stored. The bad news is that there appears to be no really perfect system to store water forever. Unfortunately, water usually just looks like water. Old water that has been stored for a long period of time will look the same as when you first bottled it.

You can’t see or feel bacteria, so what can you do? Drink it or toss it? Well, there are ways that may help a little. First, give it the smell test. If your nose gives you the “noes”, toss it. Better safe than sorry as the saying goes.

What Happens If I Drink It?

But what if your nose gives you the go-ahead and you drink the water only to fall ill with E-Coli or some other nasty illness.

Even if you don’t catch a deadly disease from the bad water, you could still suffer terrible cramps just as if you had got food poisoning. Having the urge to vomit is another sign.

Some signs of poisoning may be dizziness, inability to focus or think or a feeling of unusual weakness or other signs that you never experience when everything is going normally.

Another symptom may cause you to start vomiting uncontrollably. That can lead to severe dehydration. Drinking more bad water isn’t going to help with the dehydration either. That’s one way to die from drinking bad water, but it’s not the only way.

As another precaution, grab some LifeStraws here. These come in a three-pack from Amazon. This may be the ounce of prevention that can save you from a severely agonizing life-threatening complication.

Heavy metal

Heavy metal is a serious problem no one wants to face. Lethargy, inability to move freely about and getting worse; these are signs that heavy metal poisoning may be the culprit. This is another reason to get to the hospital as quickly as possible because heavy metal poisoning can act pretty fast and it can surely kill you.

The most vulnerable are, of course, children, elderly persons as well anyone whose immune system is weakened or vulnerable.

In one documented instance, children playing on the balcony of an old run-down house began eating little chips of flaking paint. Not too many years ago, lead was an ingredient in most paint. The children fell ill and at least one died from the lead in the old paint chips.

Cadmium poisoning is metal that sadly has no known treatment. Arsenic, lead poisoning as well as mercury can be treated if the victim is taken to a hospital as quickly as possible.

Even if your case doesn’t appear quite so drastic or urgent as some described above if you feel ill after drinking stored water, it’s better not to take a chance. Besides, if you happen to be where it’s difficult to get to a hospital, having one sick member of the family or party can cause everyone to suffer.

Heavy metals, bacteria, insects and anything else in your drinking water aren’t the only suspects. Polluted water can give you dysentery. Dysentery is the equivalence of becoming dehydrated and losing nutrition from going to the bathroom. A horrible fate, that none should ever want to experience.

Other Dangers

When camping, if you’re drinking from a crystal clear bubbling stream you may actually be downstream from other campsites where some may use the stream for their bathroom, and for washing their clothing and bodies with soap and detergents. Any and all of these can really cause you a lot of pain. You can’t take it for granted that sparkling stream or lake water is safe to drink “as-is”.

How Often Should I Check my Water?

The best way is to check the water every time before you drink it. There are ways to reduce the risk of your water becoming polluted over the long haul. Regular testing is the best way. If your property has a well, you should test the water on a regular basis.

Stored water

Assuming you don’t have your own water tower, there are other solutions to emergency water storage. You might consider any or all of the following:

1 Rain barrels

2. Gallon jugs kept in a basement or in a cool dark place such as a pantry.

3. Don’t forget that you probably have a hot water heater full of water and there are toilet tanks as well. (But this is an absolute last resort as there are bacteria that can grow.)

4. With the warning of an eventuality, you might fill your bathtubs and sinks.

5. Even a clean aquarium can help.

Admittedly, some of those solutions don’t look too appetizing, but they can be used in an emergency.


If you’re a bug-out person, you’re obviously on your way to being prepared for almost any emergency. Just remember to rotate the water as well as all supplies regularly, at least every six months or so. Water containers should be kept on shelves above the ground and as far as heat as possible. Naturally, you’ll want to be certain the water containers are clean and sanitized.

Be aware that plastic bottles might have an expiration date, in which the plastic begins to leach into the water, this can cause stomach issues and lead to health problems later in life if not caught early.

Just remember to take the guesswork out of anything so important to your survival as water. And waiting till the last minute is always a mistake. You’ve doubtlessly seen the rush on stores to clean out all the bottled water when a hurricane is coming to Florida and other states. Water will be the first and most important survival item to run out of.

Filtering Your Water

There are some techniques in trying to figure out what type of filter could be useful for you in order to solve your issue of safe drinking water. For the average person, you need roughly 2 liters or more, with strenuous activity. Creating a filter should be a priority if there are no other options to obtain safe drinking water. The idea is first, you boil the water outright, this will kill the bacteria. The filter should be created using an open plastic bottle, cut 1/4 of the bottle from the bottom.

Layer from the opening of the neck of the bottle to the cut-off part, cotton/grass/sand, ground-up charcoal, fine sand, coarse sand, fine sand once more, gravel or small stones, and finally a piece of porous cloth. Be sure to have this bottle over an open pot or other water carrying container, be sure to boil it after as well, and if not possible, leave the new container closed, but within direct sunlight for 2-4 hours, if cloudy or overcast, leave it for 2 days. This will ensure that the bacteria have been killed, and the water is safe from microbes. Remember that this is not full proof as heavy metals will not be filtered out.

Or if you are not the MacGyver type, you can get a small and compact Lifestraw that filters 1000 gallons from Amazon. Buy one for each of your family members. Get them here.

Final Thoughts

It might be easy to acquire clean water right now, and especially for those who live in urban areas water is around almost any corner for a low price. However, after any type of emergency, water tends to disappear faster than you can blink. So while our planet is about seventy-percent water, too but unfortunately most of what’s floating around us isn’t drinkable, “as-is”.

Keep in mind that checking the water is a multi-step job, and if in doubt, dump it into a pot and set it to boil. The bacteria should die out, but if there were any other types of contaminates, the only other option is to make a filter, which can be explained above. Keep in mind the expiration dates, and potentially life-threatening situations, you never know how things

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