NSW hospitals record hospitalizations for mushroom poisoning

Experts sent out an updated mushroom search warning after hospitals across the state saw a spike in poisoning cases.

Medical experts sent out an updated mushroom search warning after hospitals across the state saw a spike in poisoning cases.

The NSW Poison Information Center reported receiving 56 calls about mushroom exposure since early May, 37 of which related to mushrooms that had been harvested or consumed for recreational purposes.

According to the center, calls to the hotline have increased by about a quarter since 2021.

Genevieve Adamo, senior specialist at the NSW Poison Information Center, said admissions ranged from children who ate mushrooms in their backyard, to adults of all ages picking random mushrooms in the bush.

“Humidity provides excellent growing conditions for wild mushrooms, but it is often difficult to recognize edible mushrooms from poisonous mushrooms,” said Ms. Adam.

“Wild-picked mushrooms can make you seriously ill and could be fatal.”

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A spike in growth caused by the recent humid climate is expected to have played a role in increasing cases of toxic fungi.

Ms. Adam warned that it is difficult to identify safe wild-caught mushrooms and urged not to pick and eat mushrooms. Cooking or boiling the mushrooms does not reduce their toxicity.

“There is no reliable way to identify wild-harvested mushrooms, so it’s best to completely avoid picking or eating wild mushrooms. It’s just not worth the risk, “said Ms. Adam.

Symptoms that follow mushroom poisoning can include diarrhea, nausea, confusion, and dizziness.

“Some of the effects can even be delayed. People can be completely fine for several hours after ingestion, so we really ask the public to call if they have eaten any wild mushrooms, because even though they might be fine at that time, very small amounts can cause serious harm, “Adam said. . She said.

Food Safety Council spokesperson Lydia Buchtmann warned against using smartphone apps to identify Australian mushrooms as many differ from European variants and in some cases look very different at various stages of their life.

“Generally, in Australia, a large number of these mushrooms have not been identified,” he said.

“You sit with the experts and even they sometimes can’t even tell the difference. The safest thing to do is to buy in stores “.

Originally published as NSW hospitals are experiencing a spike in mushroom poisoning

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