Wild Mushrooms May Be Poisonous by xld14276

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									                          Wild Mushrooms May Be Poisonous
Are Wild Mushrooms Poisonous?                                Be cautious about buying wild mushrooms from street
                                                             vendors, non-approved retailers or other sources that
Some are. About 250 species of wild mushrooms found          cannot verify their knowledge/source of the
in North America are poisonous. Many more can cause          mushrooms.
varying degrees of adverse health effects. The BC Drug
and Poison Information Centre reported 1561
                                                             But I Want Wild Mushrooms!
poisonings, and twelve different types of mushrooms
that caused illness in British Columbia between 1990
                                                             In some cases identifying the poisonous species is
and 1996. The type of mushroom is identified in only
                                                             difficult even for the experts. So, only harvest wild
10% of poisoning incidents.
                                                             mushrooms if you are absolutely certain they are safe.
                                                             Be prepared to identify the mushrooms with the help of
What are the Symptoms?                                       a good field guide or knowledgeable friend. Become
                                                             knowledgeable with regards to mushroom terminology
Mushroom poisonings may cause hallucination,                 and take no risks when harvesting a mushroom for
vomiting, nausea, seizures, liver failure, kidney failure,   consumption. Should a mushroom not match even one
coma and death. The severity of attack depends upon          of the characteristics listed in your field guide for an
the type of mushroom, the amount consumed and                edible species, don't eat it!
sometimes the susceptibility of the individual to the
poison.
                                                             Are Pictures Useful?

Who Gets Sick?                                               Only to a limited extent. Edible mushrooms may have
                                                             poisonous look-a-likes, and many species have yet to be
Children are poisoned most often by mushrooms. 32%           identified. In some poisonings, patients have stated that
of all cases are less than 2 years old; a further 53% are    the mushroom looked like the picture of an edible
between the ages of 2 and 12. These were 'accidental'        mushroom.
ingestion's involving individuals who had no knowledge
of the risks.
                                                             How Do I Protect My Children?
5% of all cases occur in teenagers, 10% in adults and
                                                             This isn't easy. Young children tend to put anything
about one percent in seniors. These poisonings occur
                                                             and everything in their mouths. Perhaps it would be
mainly because the individuals have mistakenly picked
                                                             useful to check outdoor play areas and remove any
poisonous mushrooms thinking they are of an edible
                                                             mushrooms before allowing the children to play
type.
                                                             outside.

How Do I Protect Myself?                                     When a child has eaten an unidentified mushroom, call
                                                             the Poison Control Centre or your family physician
Buy mushrooms from a retail store that receives their        immediately for advice.
mushrooms from a commercial grower. This is the
surest way to ensure your safety.

                                                                                                           03/97

								
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