How Long Can You Live Without Water?


water droplet

Water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Water is the fundamental building block of all known life forms.

There are organisms that can survive indefinitely without oxygen, in boiling temperatures, in near absolute zero freezing environments, even in the radioactive vacuum of space – but absolutely nothing can live without water.

With our bodies being 65% water, humans are especially vulnerable to dehydration.  We constantly lose water through sweat, urine, feces, and even in our breath.

So just how long can humans survive without water? That depends on a several factors:

  • What’s the temperature?
  • How hydrated were you to begin with?
  • Are you resting or working?
  • Are you exposed to the sun?
  • Do you have food?  What kind of food?
  • How much fat does your body have?
  • Do you have a high metabolism?

In ideal conditions at room temperature (70 farenheit/21 degrees celsius) with no food, a person could potentially last as long as 12 days.  This would be on the extreme end of human survival though; a more likely estimate would be approximately 3-5 days without water.

If the temperature was cranked up to say,  120 F (48 C), you would survive 2.5 days at the upper limit – and that’s only if you were resting in the shade.  In hot conditions with the sun beating down on you, dehydration can set in within an hour – that’s why its so dangerous to leave a baby locked in a car during the summer.  A baby locked in a hot car could potentially die of dehydration within several hours.

In major heat, an adult human can lose up to 1.5 liters of water per hour through sweat – potentially more if he/she is working hard.  When it comes to dehydration in high heat, there’s a good chance you would die of heat stroke before you die of dehydration, since drinking water is essential for keeping your core body cool in exceptional heat.

What Happens To Your Body If You Go Without Water?

Nurses Rehydrate a Dehydrated Patient

Nurses Rehydrate a Dehydrated Patient (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first thing you’d experience is mild dehydration.  We’ve all experienced mild dehydration before, though if you’re living somewhere with an internet connection, you’ve likely never experienced the symptoms of moderate or severe dehydration.

Mild dehydration

  • Decreased saliva
  • Lower frequency of urine
  • Less urine
  • Urine color will darken
  • Urine develops a stronger odor

Moderate dehydration

  • Dry mouth
  • Even less urine
  • Extremely dry eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat

Severe dehydration

  • No urine
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (which further accelerates dehydration)
  • Lethargy
  • Skin becomes blue-gray and cold to the touch

The last stage of dehydration is shock.  At this stage, the skin feels cool as the blood pressure drops, and the skin will take on a bluish-grayish tinge.  Death follows soon after.


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  1. mario

    May 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    My mother in law has 12 day with out food or water she had a heart attack. No response she was under dynalees toke her oof the life machine how long does she has to suffer.

    • Carl fogg

      May 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      My dad has gone 8 days with out water longer no food he broke his leg they said his heart wasn’t strong enough for the operation they cat skaned him said he was full of cancer we never saw any exrays only of his leg he’s in hospice care over a week he’s on heavy doses of morphen and other pain drugs he’s mostly sleeping or during with all those meds they don’t know why he’s still alive we didn’t know he had cancer neither did he they uped the dose of meds today like I said the doctors thought 3 days ago I think they have been living to us and uped the dose of meds to cover there butt he is 91 years old someone that sick could they last that long feedbacks

      • MLS

        June 26, 2015 at 12:47 am

        In Thanatology there are many documented cases of people holding on beyond any reasonable expectation. It is usually due to
        1) an unresolved issue they wish to resolve, such as seeing an estranged sibling for example
        2) waiting for an extremely personally significant date

        All hospices should have social workers that could share this information directly. I hope this helps in your time of difficulty. If you are curious about death and dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was the first to undertake academic and scientific inquiry in the field. She wrote many books available everywhere, which would make a good starting place in your reading.

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  4. mj

    December 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I hav for spiritual & religious reasons gone 40 days w/o food deinking water every few days, also 13 days w/0 food or water. It just takes logic and willingness and good care during and after. Peace

    • Kons

      March 13, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Amen my friend.

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  6. Abstrax

    February 5, 2015 at 9:34 am

    lets join hands togather all of hiudns to save Dharma and conversations from YSR Congress as cristianity.Lakhs of People has been converted by Anil Kumar Hindus as cristianity Chala papam chesaru working as under ground mafia. maximum villages are reached 30% Cristianity plz save the state and the nation from this blade Y.S.Family now sharmila started Pada yatra with carrying of Bible atomatically people attrack with there hipnosis words and cristianity will rised to 40% to 50% cristianity in villages. Chudandi Y.S.Vijayamma garu meru kattukunna saree hindu tradition meeru pattukunna bottu hindu Tradition yendukuamma meru hinduvulani mosamchestharu lakshaladimandi hindu vulani cristianity ga marchina meru me alludu Anil kumar chala papam chesthunaru.Plz Note : Y.S.Family has not visiting our temples with heartly (manasulo varu saithan dhaghariki vacham anukuntunaru and saying Sorry to jesus on his prayers for visiting hindu Temples)plz stop to visit our temples other wise we have to make suddhi after visit of Adharma People Temples are using as a political Drama and acting.Mokka ga thunchanidhi manu ga thunchalemu.

  7. Martin

    February 11, 2015 at 7:37 am

    I have just completed my 4th day without food or water, apart from feeling a little week and lightheaded I seem ok, I’m 82kg so I can only assume my fat reserves have sufficient water & sustainance to keep me going – how very disappointing!

    • Linda

      May 22, 2015 at 11:10 am

      If you stop eating and just sip on a little water can’t you survive. I have heard of people living 2weeks without water but then i have heard people die after 5days with no water depending if you are in the sun or the shade.

  8. Anonymous

    February 18, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    I’m completely giving up food and water – starting today. Am in a pretty screwed up stage of my life, things are not working out and I just think if God is not going to give me what I want to do in life, which means I am worthless and have no purpose then I’m not going to accept the gift of food/water god has given to us – it’s meaningless, there’s no point of consuming any of earth’s precious resources.
    So now either my life’s going to change or I’ll slowly wither into nothingness.

    • vervas

      March 1, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Hey, your life is not meaningless…i read this once and it was that though many are the plans of a mans’ heart, it is the Lords’ will that prevails over them all.. so no matter what is going on in your life whether it may be that your dreams went up in smoke in front of you, know that you are not forgotten- that you DO have a purpose… so just let go and let God take control ok :) We do have our dreams and aspirations, but are they best? Only God knows what’s best. He closes and opens doors in our lives all for a reason.We may not see the full picture but He does and He knows that when you’re finished, you’ll be a MASTERPIECE. He is looking out for you because He loves you. You need not worry. Matthew 6:26 says,’Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’- He is looking out for you. You are in the palm of His hands. Though everything may be falling apart around you, know that it is just for a season and that He is in control. He’ll bring the change. Just lean on Him.

      • Abbee

        March 4, 2015 at 7:54 am

        OMFG shut up, god, is, not, real, there have I said it slow enough for you, quit putting your trust in a fairy tale created by people.

    • Abbee

      March 4, 2015 at 7:51 am

      what the fuck is up with you stupid religious people???
      The reason why I HATE religion is because people let it control
      their lives!!!!
      Have some common sense god does not exist!

      • Teegan

        March 13, 2015 at 6:32 am

        I agree, religion is controlling, and if that’s how some people want to live out their lives, being ‘controlled’ by someone ‘above’ them then you have to let them live that way.
        Belief and relationship with God is not a religion, but instead a relationship, and just as I’m sure you respect other peoples relationships with others, it’s important that you respect other people’s relationship with God, whether you choose to believe in it or not. Not saying you can’t voice your opinion (hopefully granted that it is grounded in some actual study into the subject) but mutual respect is key to living in a society that can maintain peace, something we seem to be losing a grip of lately.

      • Minhaaj

        March 14, 2015 at 10:39 am

        Yo bitch
        Shut your dumbass up before i bitchslap the 10 testicles in your mouth
        Let people believe what they want but dont hate cus ur too stupid to know he difference
        Fucking punk ass bitch… I would smack the shit out of yo head if you walked down to Cali

        • Teegan

          March 15, 2015 at 9:50 am

          Nah bro, that reaction doesn’t help neither..?

        • ElderHaram

          April 1, 2015 at 2:31 am

          What is wrong with you? Obviously you know nothing of your fake God. Don’t you remember your lessons of “love thy neighbor” and what not. If you truly believed in a God then YOU have no right to to talk to someone that way; I find you to be a vulgar hypocrite who needs serious help. If you want to believe in your “God” then do it properly and respectfully, you are certainly entitled. I however, simply cannot abide ignorant persons such as yourself who think they know everything. Most irritating.

    • Teegan

      March 13, 2015 at 6:19 am

      First of all, things aren’t going to work out all the time.
      Everyone will have to go through ‘screwed up’ stages in their life.
      Secondly, you say God is not giving you what ‘you’ want in life?
      I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works either. His purpose for your life is not for what you want, but for what he wants to do through you. And it will not be easy to come to that realisation that your purpose may not fall under what you ‘want’ initially, but it is no doubt rewarding when you realise that.
      You are loved by the creator of the Universe, God. And we’re just humans, there is no way we could be expected to understand why a being with so much power would be so merciful on us, that he would love us, and care for us, even through the grief that people give him. That is incomprehensible grace.
      You are valued above any animal on this earth in God’s eyes, and the earths resources were put here for all to use, the humans and animals, so why would someone of such value, not be worthy of using what was made specifically for the use of him/her.
      Have faith he will provide.
      You have a amazing purpose for your life, perhaps not what you may think it to be, but instead, what God sees that it is. And I assure you, it will be more fulfilling than you would have planned for your own life alone.

      • Jack

        April 13, 2015 at 12:20 am

        God’s not real lol stop being so immature

      • Katie

        May 22, 2015 at 3:55 am

        Wow. What you said really inspired me. Things aren’t working out for me and I felt like giving up and I thought God also gave up on me but what I read just now really changed me cause it reminded me that he does have a plan for me and yes it’s probably more fulfilling then the way I plan it to be and I can’t wait to see what’s next to come. And I wanna say to everyone that posted a comment that God is not real to think again because he does exist. just Take a look around you and everywhere you go cause the answer to god existing is there. If you have Netflix I recommend you watch the movie gods not dead. its a really good movie.

    • Josh

      June 20, 2015 at 2:50 am

      Did you get romance scammed like i did, why i’m doing it…

  9. Rob

    March 6, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    hello my name is ha gayyyyy and i am 75 years old how are you everyone leanrt alot from reading

  10. Sean

    May 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I might try it my life not go to well Ann why

  11. mike

    May 26, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    25 years without water

  12. sostenes hermosillo

    May 29, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    you never answered the question

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