It's finally spring break, and you are so over classes and homework and ready to escape to the beach. I'm the first to admit there's nothing better than relaxing in the sun and hanging by the ocean. There's also nothing worse than when an unexpected wave crashes into you and leaves you with a mouthful of disgusting salt water. This clearly tastes nothing like bottled water, so what does swallowing it mean for your health? 

The Facts

Let's get the facts straight. It's true that living cells need salt to maintain the body’s chemical balance and reactions, but humans have a salinity level of .09% (in their blood). This basically just means that every 1,000 grams of blood contains 9 grams of salt and 991 grams of water. This is super important because too much salt can be fatal. 

What about the salt we eat regularly?

peanut, sweet, meat, cereal, nut
Allie Koestler

But, what about the salt we eat every day in that good stuff like chips and pretzels? Even though we consume a lot of salt, we are also drinking liquids, which helps balance it out. 

While humans can safely take in small amounts of salt, the high amount of salt in seawater can be deadly. If you're on a desert island and dying of thirst, living off of salt water is a terrible idea. You would die of dehydration. Our kidneys can only make urine that is not as salty as salt water. That would mean that in order to get rid of all the extra salt ingested from drinking ocean water, you would have to urinate more water than you drank.

However, no one is stranded on a desert island. Although spring break might mean accidentally ingesting some seawater, you're not relying on it, so it's definitely not going to kill you. Go into spring break with peace of mind that you'll totally be fine if you accidentally take a gulp of some nice ocean water. Just make sure you don't start bring bottles of it to class.