Unless you are an expert, telling an edible mushroom from a potentially fatal one is hard to call BUT what if your toddler or child eats one unbeknownst of the dangers when you are out on a walk?
Children are notorious for putting things in their mouth; it’s how they learn and is a natural part of curiosity. However, now that mushroom season is in full swing, parents need to be more vigilant as some can cause severe poisoning. Here is more information on what to do regarding consumption of fatal mushrooms.
This week the National Poisons Information Centre announced they see a massive increase in calls about ingestion of wild mushrooms at this time of the year and are asking parents to be more vigilant.
In Ireland, we have roughly 4000 species of mushrooms, 27 of those species can cause poisoning when eaten, and 13 can be life-threatening when ingested. Severe complications from some of Ireland’s most deadly mushrooms include kidney and liver failure.
Foraging for wild mushrooms isn’t as big here in Ireland as it is across Europe and it’s mostly because mushrooms need to be identified by an expert. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t tell the difference between a Penny Bun, Death Cap, Wood Blewit or a Destroying Angel even if I tried.
To alert parents, the NPIC is calling on parents to be more cautious this Autumn and to supervise children playing in gardens, parks or woodlands if wild mushrooms are visible. They are also calling on members of the public never to pick mushrooms unless an expert has identified them.
Alongside their stark warning, the NPIC in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, has issued a statement telling parents what to do if a child ingests an unidentified mushroom:
- They are asking the public to call the Poisons Information advice line on 01 809 2166 any day of the week between 8am - 10pm for non-judgemental advice if you think your child has eaten an unidentified mushroom.
- Next, take note of where the mushrooms are growing. If they are under a tree, what is the species of the tree?
- They advise you to pick multiple samples of the mushrooms that were ingested, including the root.
- Once picked, loosely wrap the mushrooms in kitchen roll or tissue paper and place them in a sealed lunch box or container. They ask that you do not use a plastic bag; it can cause sweating and may compromise tissue integrity.
- Then store the mushrooms in a fridge in case they need to be identified if symptoms arise at a later stage.
- They also advise that if an adult or child is symptomatic having eaten an unidentified mushroom, get them to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
In the event your child is admitted after ingesting one of the unidentified yet fatal mushrooms, the National Poisons Centre has a panel of experienced mycologists on-call. They will be able to identify the mushroom to help aid treatment.