NJ Poison Control Center reports 45-cases of poisonous mushroom sickness
Mushrooms are great in salad or on top of your steak dinner, but they should be coming from the supermarket not in the wild.
The rain, heat and humidity this summer have led to a increasing amount of poisonous mushrooms being found in New Jersey, which could be dangerous if eaten by you or any pets.
Between July 1 and August 13 there have been 38-human and 7-animal exposures reported by the New Jersey Poison Control Center with the age range of patients spanning from 9-months old to 70-years old.
The 45-exposure cases across 15 of New Jersey's 21 counties were managed by medical experts at the NJPCC over the past month but 13 of the patients needed to be sent to the ER.
"Picking and eating mushrooms growing in gardens, on lawns, in fields or in the woods is a dangerous game," Diane Calello, MD, NJ Poison Control Center Executive and Medical Director, 'Rutgers NJ Medical Schools Department of Emergency Medicine' said in a statement. "Even experienced mushroom pickers are fooled by toxic look-a-likes at times."
Symptoms of mushroom poisoning include intense vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration, damage to vital organs like the liver and it could even lead to death.
"This is a serious issue. No matter the scenario, it is unsafe to pick and eat mushrooms found in the wild," Calello said. "Don't be fooled - many edible mushrooms have toxic look-a-likes. The cooking process does not prevent the toxic health effects of some mushrooms. Depending on the type of mushroom, eating even a few bites can cause serious health concerns. It is rare that an injury is truly preventable, but that is the case here. Fortunately, mushroom poisoning can be prevented by simply not eating wild mushrooms."
Adults are not the only one's enticed by wild mushrooms; children and pets are often intrigued by mushroom patches growing in backyards.
Make sure to always supervise children and pets outdoors.
Pets can suffer serious health injuries and even death from eating wild mushrooms.
The NJ Poison Control Center has some tips for potential mushroom exposures:
- Time is of the essence when it comes to mushroom poisoning. Do not wait for symptoms to appear or spend time searching the internet for next steps.
- Call the Poison Control Center's Poison Help line, 1-800-222-1222, immediately to get the medical help or information you need. Our help is free and available 24/7 to NJ residents. The Poison Center may arrange for an expert to identify the mushroom.
- Remove any remaining parts of the mushroom from the person's mouth and place those fragments and all mushrooms that are in the immediate vicinity of the incident into one or more paper bags (NOT plastic!).
- Take a digital photograph of the mushroom(s) in question. It helps to take a picture of the mushroom next to other objects such as a coin, ruler, etc. to provide a sense of scale.
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