Wild Mushroom Warning

Here is a tip to avoid eating a wild poisonous mushroom. Only eat store bought mushrooms and never eat any wild mushrooms regardless of their appearance. Monitor and remove any wild mushrooms that might be enticing to children or pets. If a wild mushroom is consumed pick any remaining mushrooms, wrap them in a paper towel, put them in a paper bag and then refrigerate them in order to preserve them for examination. Mushrooms will breakdown too quickly if put in a plastic bag. Most important, clearly write ‘Do not eat!’ on the outside. We at ivaluesafety.com want to share a post by Poison Control regarding Wild Mushroom Warning per the following:

Wild mushrooms are abundant in many areas of the country, especially after a rainy spell. Some of these mushrooms are dangerous to eat; a few can even kill you. One type of mushroom, Amanita virosa, is so dangerous that it is called “the death angel”.

How can you tell the difference between an edible wild mushroom and a poisonous one? Unless you are very experienced in mushroom identification, you can’t!! There are a lot of mushroom look-alikes. Poison Control help many people with mushroom poisoning. Almost all of them were sure they were picking a safe mushroom.

It is NEVER safe to eat a wild mushroom unless a mushroom identification expert says so. It is important to watch children playing outdoors so they don’t eat mushrooms; after all, to a child it just looks like dinner!

How does a mushroom expert identify a mushroom? There are many things to examine:

  • Shape, color, and texture of the cap;
  • Presence and appearance of gills or pores under the cap;
  • Spore color;
  • Appearance of the stalk, including the very bottom of the stalk under the dirt and whether it changes color when bruised or cut;
  • Whether the cap is attached to the stalk;
  • Whether the mushroom is growing singly, in a cluster, or in a circle with other mushrooms;
  • What the mushroom is growing on.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning vary with the type of mushroom eaten. Many wild mushrooms will cause vomiting and diarrhea; that could lead to dehydration and an emergency room visit. Others can interact with alcohol to cause severe stomach upset, headache, and high blood pressure. Some can cause hallucinations and coma. A few cause no effects right away, but can damage the liver; a liver transplant may be necessary to survive.

Here are some safety tips for wild mushrooms:

  • NEVER pick and eat wild mushrooms unless they’ve been identified by an expert!
  • Look-alike mushrooms can fool you. Learning how to identify mushrooms in one part of the country or another country is not reliable for identifying mushrooms in another area.
  • Cooking doesn’t make a poisonous mushroom safe. In fact, you can be poisoned by breathing in the cooking fumes from some poisonous mushrooms.
  • Even non-poisonous mushrooms can cause unpleasant reactions in people who are sensitive to them.
  • Symptoms from eating poisonous mushrooms can be delayed for many hours.

If you think that someone has eaten a wild mushroom, call Poison Control right away at 1-800-222-1222. Poison specialists will tell you exactly what to do. They will work with mycologists (mushroom identification experts) to find out what kind of mushroom it is. They will also work with the emergency room staff so you can get proper treatment.

Remember: There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters. There are no old, bold mushroom hunters!

Rose Ann Gould Soloway, RN, BSN, MSEd, DABAT emerita
Clinical Toxicologist

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