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Poison Center Helpline 1-800-222-1222

Mushrooms

Most mushroom calls to IPC involve small children who become intrigued by the appearance of little brown mushrooms sprouting in the lawn, playground or field. Fortunately, most of these accidental poisonings do not result in serious complications. Most often it's because the species was nontoxic or the quantity ingested was minimal. More concerning however, are the less common situations where an individual or entire family consumes a meal prepared with collected wild mushrooms they believed to be edible but in reality are poisonous.

There are approximately 5,000 species of mushrooms, and only 200-300 of which are known to be safely edible. Most mushroom poisonings cause symptoms of stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. A few may cause potentially fatal liver and kidney damage, such as the "death cap" and "the deadly webcap". One mushroom, known as the ‘"inky cap" only makes a person ill when alcoholic beverages are consumed with the mushroom, known as a disulfiram reaction.

Another common, deliberately ingested mushroom is Chlorophyllum molybdites. Due to its large size (about the size of a portabella mushroom) and fleshy appearance, it is occasionally picked and eaten. Poisoning by C. molybdites causes symptoms of intense vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain which occurs within 2-3 hours of ingestion. In severe cases, hydration with IV fluids may be necessary.