The Life-Threatening Reasons Your Child Should Never Eat Wild Mushrooms
Expert says they can cause serious poisoning or even death
Have you noticed all the wild mushrooms that popped up in your yard after heavy rains?
Chances are, even if you haven’t, your kids probably have and that could mean trouble for them.
“Kids are notorious for putting things in their mouths – it’s a natural part of their curiosity. But some mushrooms can cause serious poisoning,” said David William Fischer a mycologist and mushroom expert. He is the author of Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field-to-kitchen Guide and is the creator of americanmushrooms.com.
Corwin Warmink, M.D, medical director of Emergency Services, says he has seen kids eat wild mushrooms and taken to the emergency department for treatment.
Symptoms vary, depending on the type of mushroom eaten but may include:
- Upset stomach
- Neurological symptoms (lethargic, coma, seizures)
Fischer said the symptoms are usually temporary but can be life-threatening.
Late last year, doctors treated 14 people who became severely ill after eating mushrooms from Northern California mountains in the greater San Fransico Bay area. Three people needed liver transplants, including an 18-month-old girl. In late 1996 and early 1997, two men died in that same area from eating wild mushrooms.
“I tell my grandkids to put nothing in their mouths that a responsible adult didn't provide,” Fischer said. “But especially with infants and toddlers – as with dogs – supervision is essential for effective prevention.”
Fischer advices that “all mushrooms should be regarded as toxic, unless properly identified as edible and every edible mushroom should thoroughly cooked before being eaten.”