Can you get sick from eating icicles? (+4 tips)

In this article, we are going to answer the question, “can you get sick from eating icicles”?  

Can you get sick from eating icicles?

Yes, you can get sick from eating icicles. Although children and adults alike, living in cooler areas commonly enjoy the delights of eating icicles, these icicles can possibly be contaminated by pollutants, dirt, and even poop. These icicles can carry certain bacteria and protozoa which can be harmful for our health and prove to be very dangerous. Besides contamination, even if the icicles are clean, they can be damaging to teeth by fracturing them and removing a filling.

How do icicles form?

In areas with cold weather and those which experience snowfall, icicles are a common sight to see. After a snowfall, the snow which falls on the ground, roof and leaves freezes and becomes ice. Once the weather becomes clearer and the sun appears, this ice starts melting and begins to fall down from the surfaces of roofs and leaves. While melting, when the ice has contact with the sub-zero air, it freezes again, forming an icicle.  

Formation of Icicles decides its level of purity:

The purity or impurity of the icicles is determined by the place and type of water the icicle is formed by. In rainforests, icicles are usually formed by the freezing of rainwater falling from trees and its branches; these icicles are usually pure and safe to eat. Icicles formed in the wilderness, in a clean and natural environment are considered safe to consume.

However, icicles that are formed by the water falling from the roofs of houses, are usually contaminated. These icicles are formed by water that is contaminated by the dirt and poop that was settled on the roof, as well as the pollutants from the air. Usually icicles formed in urban areas are dirty and not safe to eat. 

However, it is a mistake to assume that rural areas have clean icicles. This is because the polluted air moves from the cities to the rural area, contaminating the surfaces there as well, also polluting rainwater. Therefore icicles formed from this rainwater can be highly contaminated. 

How to eat icicles safely?

  1. Look and observe closely the color of the icicle. If the icicle is yellow-ish in color or if it contain dirt or grime inside, it is most likely formed from contaminated or dirty water. 
  1. Study the environment around you and analyze the type of water the icicle has formed from. Determine the source of the formation of icicles to understand if the icicle is clean and safe to consume.
  1. Even if you or a child are really craving that icicle, take only a bite or two. Eating more icicles can be potentially harmful for the body.
  1. Do not eat sharp and pointy icicles. These can be potentially damaging to your teeth and can even fracture the teeth.

In this article, we have answered the question, “can you get sick from eating icicles?” as well as provided tips on how to eat safely. 

References:

  1. https://www.thedenverchannel.com/meteorologist-says-dont-eat-icicles-roof/
  2. https://www.thehealthy.com/nutrition/chewing-ice/
  3. https://www.networx.com/article/icicles-on-roof

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.