There are many things that will kill you in under an hour, including getting shot in the head, drinking antifreeze, or being run over by a Mack truck. But there are also some less obvious ways to die in under an hour, like deer darting out in front of your car or sweating.
1. Poisonous Plants
The plant world is full of beauty and charm, but some flowers and plants have a dark side. From carnivorous blooms to poisonous posies, these plants don’t care for you.
The most common deadly plant on this list is tobacco, which contains neurotoxins that are known to cause respiratory distress, heart failure, and even death. It also has a high nicotine content that can lead to addiction and other health problems.
Another deadly plant is water hemlock, which is the most violently toxic flower in North America. It resembles Queen Anne’s lace and is infused with a substance called cicutoxin that can trigger painful convulsions, hallucinations, dilated pupils, vomiting, tremors, and even death. This plant also produces cyanide gas if chewed, which is why it’s important to use hedge cutters with caution. The Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is another deadly plant that can kill you with a single bite. Its leaves contain chemicals called cardiac glycosides that cause drowsiness, nausea, muscle twitches, trembling, vomiting, dilated pupils, and coma.
Snails are slow moving pests that feed on a variety of things, including plant leaves, roots and fruits. They also eat fungi, rotting wood and bark, animal scats and carcasses, and crushed limestone rock and cement.
Snail species are either herbivorous or carnivorous, and some can even be venomous. Those that are venomous, like the Powelliphanta (Po-liss-FAN-tah) species from New Zealand, hunt by extending their proboscis like a tongue tipped with a venom-coated harpoon to stun and capture prey.
The harpoon is filled with a series of amino acids strung together in a tangled mass called a conotoxin peptide, and the sequence of those acids dictates the three-dimensional shape of the peptide. Snails that are venomous inject their poison into prey using this peptide. They also harbor parasitic worms that can cause the disease known as schistosomiasis, which damages the liver, intestines and spleen.
3. Venomous Vipers
Venomous vipers are a diverse group of snakes, and their bites can kill you in under an hour. They have stout bodies, hinged fangs that tuck into their mouth, and large venom glands.
There are about 200 venomous vipers—known as the viperinae subfamily, including pit vipers (like rattlesnakes and copperheads) and Old World vipers (adders). Vipers vary in their habitats and markings. Some, like the spiny bush viper, are arboreal and camouflage in desert sand or rice fields.
Some, such as the king cobra, have lethal venom that can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain and swelling at the bite site, drops in blood pressure and heart rate, extreme bleeding, and kidney failure. In some cases, such as the venom of the black mamba, it can be cardiotoxic, causing cardiac arrest. The venom of the coastal taipan can also paralyze muscles, stopping the diaphragm from moving and resulting in suffocation.
5. Falling Out of Bed
Falling out of bed may seem harmless, but it can actually kill you. It’s one of the top causes of death in America and people are more likely to die from falling out of bed than they are to get killed by a shark or in a car accident. There are several reasons someone could fall out of bed such as REM behavior disorder where a person acts out their dreams, restless sleep, or old age. Luckily, there are things you can do to help prevent falls. For example, if your loved one needs to use the bathroom during the night, place a commode near their bed so they don’t have to walk far.
Deer are one of nature’s success stories, having proliferated across the globe with remarkable speed and agility. Their regal antlers serve as defense and signals for sexual activity, while their four-chambered stomachs can break down and ferment all kinds of vegetation.
However, deer can also be a threat to humans. They’re fast, agile, and can leap great distances. Moreover, they are preyed upon by a variety of predators in the wild, including bears, lions, and tigers. If a deer runs in front of your car, it’s best to brake firmly and not swerve, which can take you into oncoming traffic or off the road. You should also try to quickly dissipate the heat of the carcass by propping up its cavity with sticks and branches to aid in air circulation and drying. This will also help to prevent bacteria from developing on the meat.
7. Sun Poisoning
While most sunburns aren’t severe, the more extreme cases can lead to skin poisoning. Symptoms of sun poisoning include extreme redness and blistering, dehydration, fever, chills, and nausea. In most cases, it’s best to get out of the sun as soon as possible and rehydrate with water or electrolyte-containing drinks.
Avoiding excessive sun exposure and applying sunscreen regularly is a great way to prevent sun poisoning. You should also avoid spending time in the sun during the hottest hours of the day and cover up whenever possible. If you do end up getting a bad sunburn, try to treat it with at-home remedies like cooling compresses, taking ibuprofen for pain, and staying hydrated. However, if symptoms become worse, you should seek medical attention. In severe cases, this can save your life.
8. Falling Into a Swimming Pool
While many people love to cool off in a swimming pool, lake, river or ocean during the hot summer months, they often don’t realize that there are dangerous creatures lurking underneath the surface. Swallowing or inhaling tainted water can leave you susceptible to diarrhea, rashes and other potentially serious illnesses.
Drowning is one of the most common reasons that kids end up in the emergency room during summer. It can happen quickly and silently, and most children who drown had been out of their parent’s sight for less than five minutes. Another danger is secondary drowning, which can occur if you swallow water and then cough it up later. Children swallow and cough water all the time, but if they start suddenly and progressively worsening bouts of coughing, it is cause for concern.
9. Being in a Car Accident
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt in a car accident, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. This visit can help you identify injuries that don’t show up right away and prevent them from getting worse.
Your neck can experience damage from the impact or whiplash, which stretches the tendons and muscles in your back. The discs in your spine can suffer from trauma, including herniation and fractured vertebrae.
Your heart is propelled forward at the speed of your vehicle during a crash, which can lead to it breaking your ribs and bruising the hall of your chest and lungs. This can cause blood loss and lead to death. This is why it’s important to wear your seat belt at all times while driving. If possible, pull over and move your car to a safe place on the side of the road before calling police.
10. Having a Heart Attack
Heart attacks and strokes can kill you in under an hour, especially if you don’t get immediate emergency medical treatment. Both are caused when your brain or heart can’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. The most common heart attack symptoms include crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, and cold sweats. You may also feel a general ache or pressure around your chest, stomach, neck, or arms. Symptoms are often provoked, meaning they get worse after exercise or rest, and they might radiate to other parts of your body, like your jaw or shoulders. NIH-funded research is helping people survive heart attacks and strokes by improving their odds of getting medical help early, which can limit damage to the organs.