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Health Library : Non-Traumatic Emergencies


Mushroom Poisoning in Children

Facts about poisonous mushrooms:

There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms in North America, but only about 100 are poisonous and can be dangerous if eaten by humans. However, unless you are an expert at identifying mushrooms, it is difficult to tell a poisonous mushroom from one that is not poisonous. Children, particularly, are victims of mushroom poisoning.

How can you tell if a mushroom is poisonous?

Signs that a mushroom might be poisonous include the following:

  • Warts or scales on the cap or top of mushroom
  • Gills that are white or light-colored, not brown, on the underside of the mushroom
  • Gills that look like thin, leaf-like plates underneath the mushroom
  • An upper ring around the upper part of the stem
  • A lower ring around the lower part of the stem
  • The base of stem looks like a bulb

What are the symptoms of mushroom poisoning?

The following are the most common symptoms of mushroom poisoning. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Early symptoms include feeling sick, stomach cramps, vomiting, and watery or bloody diarrhea. If your child has any of these symptoms, call your child's physician immediately.

What you should do if your child has eaten a wild mushroom:

Collect the mushroom your child was eating. Carefully dig up a few mushrooms, complete with underground parts, to help with the identification. If there is more than one kind of mushroom around your child, collect all of the different kinds.

Call your child's physician, the local poison control center, or the hospital emergency room. They will ask you questions about your child and give you appropriate instructions. Also, bring the mushrooms you have collected with you to the emergency room.

How are children treated for mushroom poisoning?

The physician will check the child's vital signs and consult a local mushroom expert to determine whether or not the mushroom is poisonous and whether any other treatment is necessary.

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