Show Mobile Navigation
Facts |

10 Things That Are Much More Dangerous Than You Probably Thought

by Gregory Myers
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Many people are afraid of things like lightning striking them dead-on and frying them to a crisp, being a passenger on an airplane when it goes down, being eaten by a shark while swimming, having a tornado rip right through their home, and so on. The fortunate thing is that most of these fears are entirely irrational.

Many things that people commonly fear rarely cause fatalities or injuries and shouldn’t be thought about with nearly so much anxiety. However, there are many other things lurking much closer within reach that are much more dangerous than you would imagine at first. Some of the items on this list can kill you before you realize that you’ve already made a big mistake.

10 Rabies Will Sneak Up On You When You Least Expect It

Rabies can be really sneaky and should be taken very, very seriously. The reason all pets have to get shots for it is because the disease can kill very suddenly, and it can be hard to spot. Many wild animals such as coyotes and bats, or even some stray dogs or cats, can have rabies, and if you get bit, you should be vaccinated immediately, even if you don’t show symptoms. Oftentimes with rabies, you won’t feel ill for a while, but then you’ll start to feel the symptoms of a cold and then a fever. After that, when you start to get to the worse stages, you will experience hydrophobia, a fear of water where you find it difficult to swallow, thinking you will choke if you do.[1]

At this advanced stage, a person suffering from rabies will generally have extreme mental confusion and hallucinations and will often die not long after. It is very important to vaccinate early if you think you may have been bitten by something with rabies because it can hide for a while and then crop up suddenly, making it hard for a doctor to realize where the problem is coming from. Hydrophobia is one of the only symptoms that is more unique to rabies, but it is often too late by that stage. Those who don’t get vaccinated early often die of the disease.

9 Amusement Park Rides Are Much More Deadly Than You Might Imagine

Amusement parks are usually seen as a fun place to take the kids for a day or to partake in some insane roller coasters and enjoy the feeling of adrenaline surging through through the veins. Most people tend to think of amusement parks as a great place to have a good time because they think of them as relatively safe. You’d think that a park full of attractions that lift people into the air, throw them all over the place, and strap them into train-like contraptions that travel as fast as some cars would have pretty strict government safety regulations. However, because of a loophole, there hasn’t been any federal oversight of amusement parks in the United States of America since the 1980s, which leaves everything up to the states.

Some states have no regulations at all, and some leave it entirely up to the counties. Many states don’t require amusement parks to properly record how many injuries or incidents they have, and one of those is Florida—which has some of the biggest and most visited amusement parks in the world. The annual voluntary survey of injuries and accidents is completely ignored by at least half of parks, which makes it even harder to quantify the dangers at all.

Unless someone records an incident on their phone, like at the Ohio State Fair in 2017, where one man died and several were injured when a swinging gondola broke loose, people almost never hear about it. Amusement parks go to great lengths to keep accidents out of the media and settle out of court when possible to avoid publicity. Even with all the accident underreporting (or non-reporting), the numbers are still at over 1,000 injuries per year.[2]

8 Box Jellyfish Kill Way More Often Than Sharks

Photo credit: Guido Gautsch

We tend to be most scared of the animals that look like huge monsters, and when it comes to the ocean, sharks are the scariest beasts around in the eyes of most people. Hardly even needing the influence of Jaws to make them terrifying, some sharks are gigantic carnivores with rows of sharp teeth and have been known on occasion to take a bite or two out of human beings. However, if you really look at the cold, hard statistics, there are only a handful of fatal shark attacks around the world every year, and there aren’t that many shark-related incidents to begin with. Sharks simply don’t have that much interest in hunting people.

However, while shark attacks are incredibly rare, there is something in the ocean you should be increasingly concerned about. We are talking, of course, about the jellyfish. Most people think of jellyfish as a mostly harmless nuisance. Their sting is something joked about in popular culture, with many different shows doing a gag where people urinate on the sting to decrease the power of the venom. (This doesn’t work and may actually make it worse.) However, it is no joking matter if you get stung by almost any species of box jellyfish. Their sting can easily be fatal if not treated quickly, and some people still die despite quick treatment. In just the Philippines alone, box jellies account for 20 to 40 deaths a year and countless hospital visits, but experts believe the actual death toll may be underreported because the deaths are often attributed to general causes.[3]

7 Escalators

When most people think of a potentially dangerous way to quickly move up or down a building, elevators tend to come to mind. Think of all the movies and TV shows where a cable snaps, and the elevator plunges to the ground, leaving everyone hoping that the hero will find a way to arrest their fall at the last minute. This has become so ingrained in popular culture that a lot of people think this is a reasonable fear in an elevator. However, the only known case of a cable actually snapping and causing an elevator to free-fall happened when a plane crashed into the Empire State Building, and the woman within survived. The vast majority of elevator accidents and fatalities happen to repairmen working on them, doing the most dangerous tasks.

However, while the elevator isn’t the killer many would suspect, the humble escalator is far deadlier than you might imagine. Although some people fear escalators, most don’t really think simple moving stairs could really be that dangerous. Unfortunately, the design has serious flaws. If someone gets something snagged within the mechanism, it doesn’t really have a way to detect this and automatically shut off; it just keeps moving. This has caused people to lose their limbs or fingers, and in one recent high-profile case, a man was strangled to death by an escalator when his sweatshirt got caught.

Escalators can also be a magnet for slowly building up lint and other fire-causing materials in their workings. Back in 1987, this was the cause of a great tragedy in the London Underground. An escalator exploded because of various grime accumulated in the machine over years of use. 31 people died due to this single incident.[4]

6 Body Spray

Body sprays, due to the heavy advertising of brands like Axe, have become associated with the bro culture and sometimes aren’t particularly respected. However, most teenagers and young people who are using body sprays aren’t trying to put forth some arrogant persona; most of them just want to smell nice. One teenager from Manchester lost his life in 1998 because he wanted to smell nice for everyone around him, as many self-conscious teenagers do. He used body sprays excessively, and his family warned him that he was using too much—not so much for his health, as they didn’t understand the risks, but simply because they thought it was excessive.

The reports say that the teen was known for thickly covering his entire body in the spray at least a couple times a day, in enclosed areas, and that he did it so much that his family couldn’t just smell it from rooms away with the doors closed but could actually taste it sometimes. The coroner believed that his overuse over the course of months had caused chemicals to build up in his body, eventually causing a heart attack. It seems possible he may have even built up a tolerance over time with his habit, as the amount of butane and propane in his body was ten times a lethal dose. The coroner didn’t believe the teen had any idea what he was doing to himself and ruled the case a death by accidental propane inhalation.[5]

5 Headphones

Sitting at home and listening to music with your headphones on, rocking out to your favorite tunes, seems like the safest thing to do in the world. You can’t possibly have anyone hurt you or get into any trouble that way, or so you would think. The problem is that headphones give people an easy way to damage their hearing without knowing it, and the fact that so many people are unaware of this danger makes it easier to suffer its effects. Permanent hearing loss can happen gradually, to the point you only start to notice after truly serious damage has been done, and you start to hear—or not hear—a noticeable difference.

The problem is that the sound is so contained, making it very easy for headphones to play music or other sounds at incredibly loud levels. Many headphones can reach 120 decibels, which is unfortunate for people who like to play their headphones at max, because sounds of 110 decibels are already enough to cause permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, chainsaws and other various power tools don’t reach the decibel levels that your headphones can reach, and it is strongly recommended to use hearing protection while using most heavy power tools. Even crazier, most concerts don’t go above 105 decibels for the average person in the crowd, which still doesn’t come close to the kind of damage your headphones can do to your hearing.[6]

4 Cat Scratches

You’ve probably heard the song “Cat Scratch Fever,” which is a pretty upbeat rock tune, but it is no fun to those who actually get this disease. As we know, cats can get into almost everything; they lick and paw themselves all over their bodies in order to get clean, and they have very sharp claws. This creates a situation where a cat can easily build up bacteria in its mouth and claws, which can be potentially very dangerous to humans. And when they come into contact with fleas, cats can build up a nasty cocktail that can kill a human, especially if the person is immunocompromised or doesn’t get proper medical treatment in time.

This means that particularly if your cat has recently had fleas and scratches you and breaks the skin, you may want to seek medical attention just to be safe. If you start getting a fever, you should certainly get checked out. In rarer cases, cat scratches can spread an infection to the heart or cause the brain to swell dangerously and kill the scratched individual. The best avoidance is to keep your cat and its environment clean and keep both your cat’s shots and your own up-to-date.[7]

3 Nicotine Overdose

Cigarettes are pretty much universally considered to be unhealthy, but they don’t immediately kill you, or there wouldn’t be so many people using them. Some people can smoke cigarettes and live well into their eighties or nineties without seeing too many adverse health effects at all; many others aren’t nearly so lucky, of course. Some people will claim that just a couple packs of cigarettes are enough to kill a person of about 150 pounds, but this has never really been proven. In many documented cases, people have overdosed on nicotine and survived—although these people usually tend to be smokers, who have built up a tolerance.

Even then, the real danger is rarely from smoking itself. Cigarettes have much less bioavailability of nicotine when smoked as compared to when you use chewing tobacco or a patch. A novice smoker without much of a nicotine tolerance would have to smoke a lot of cigarettes, something they aren’t at all used to doing, in order to overdose, making it extremely unlikely. However, such a beginner, especially someone younger, could potentially seriously or fatally overdose by using chewing tobacco or using patches. The patches in particular can release a lot of nicotine at once if abused, and even seasoned smokers should heed the warning on the label and take care not to use too much at once.[8]

2 Bluetooth-Enabled Fidget Spinners Burst Into Flames While Charging

Photo credit: WBRC

Fidget spinners are the toy that just about everyone has heard of, and even a number of adults have one or two of around for novelty’s sake, if nothing else. Teachers hate them because they’re a distraction in class, and parents love them for a similar reason. However, the reason kids love them is because they often come in bright colors and have flashing lights and sometimes other capabilities, like Bluetooth and a charger so that you can sync it up with your phone and your music.

These high-tech fidget spinners are really cool, but they come at a dangerous cost. There have already been multiple reports of this variety of fidget spinner bursting into flames while recharging, and there’s really no way to track down the manufacturer to hold anyone at all responsible, not to mention very little regulation for this product in general. The problem is that the patent for the fidget spinner ran out before it became popular, so now an untold number of companies are releasing their versions of the product with whatever features they want, and almost no one is inspecting for any kind of proper safety standards. Fidget spinners don’t really come with branding, and most people can only get as far as knowing that it was made in China before they run into a wall.[9] While a fidget spinner with no electronic capabilities is not dangerous, you should always be wary of electronic products with unknown or unverifiable origins.

1 Hail Is A Far Bigger Threat Than People Think

When most people think of dangerous weather events, they think of a giant hurricane bringing in a storm surge to flood everything or tornado-force winds ripping their house to matchsticks. However, some of the biggest weather dangers often go unheeded in the popular mind, even though they’re far worse than most of the other things we worry about. While severe thunderstorms can certainly include tornadoes and flooding, hail still manages to account for an entire half of all related damage.[10]

Hailstorms are no joking matter and can injure hundreds of people at a time, with dozens seriously so, when one comes up on a group of partiers who don’t have enough time to get inside. In addition to causing bodily harm, hail can tear up homes, cars, and agriculture horribly. Even if you don’t get hit by a direct pass from a tornado, the ensuing hail damage can still easily ruin your day. When a really bad hailstorm occurs, it usually causes billions of dollars in damages. However, you can consider yourselves at least partially lucky when it comes to hail. While it causes a lot of injuries and property damage, actual death by hail is very rare, as a large piece generally has to whack you right on the noggin.


For more things that are more dangerous than you might have guessed, check out 10 Surprisingly Dangerous Animals and 10 Popular Ideas That Turned Out To Be Really Dangerous.

fact checked by Jamie Frater