Friday, February 7, 2014

Too Much Is Too Much of Anything

[Gross-out alert: This news item is about a form of child abuse you didn't want to know existed.]

Reading this Blaze report...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/07/how-drinking-soda-as-a-punishment-killed-a-5-year-old-girl/

...reminded me of a news item we discussed in 1976 or 1977, I forget, but I remember it was in grade six. Some other horrible person ordered a child to drink water as a punishment. Water only--not soda pop--from an unspecified "bucket" that a younger child was able to carry. At that time things like ice cream and peanut butter were sold in one-quart and one-gallon plastic "buckets" that could be reused around the house for years (we only have one left, but I still use it to pick berries). Anyway, reportedly, the child ingested most of six "buckets" of water and died on the way to the hospital.

Do these gruesome stories indicate that drinking too much soda pop will kill a person faster than drinking too much water will? Sounds reasonable, because soda pop contains a good deal of sodium, and any imbalance between sodium and potassium in the blood (either way) can cause distress; a severe imbalance between those two chemicals (either way) can cause death. Then again, as I recall the story from my childhood may have involved a bigger child.

Either way, note the forty-year time gap. Nobody drinks enough of either water or soda pop to cause death. A sensation of fullness sets in. When people die of what the story from my childhood described as "internal drowning," force can reasonably be suspected.