South Australians planning to spend time outdoors over the Easter weekend are being reminded of the risks associated with foraging wild mushrooms.

With a cooler, wetter summer and more rain expected soon, South Australia will start to see the ideal growing conditions for wild mushrooms in areas such as parks, back yards in mulch or compost, roadsides, farm paddocks, nature reserves and forests across the State.

This includes reports of the Death Cap mushrooms – Amanita Phalloides – which are extremely poisonous and must not be eaten. Fatal Death cap mushrooms are extremely difficult to distinguish from other wild mushrooms and can resemble edible species.

Wild mushrooms can pop up quickly and may look inviting to touch and eat but ingesting them can cause serious illness or death. This is why it is important to not eat wild mushrooms, to keep a close eye on curious children, as well as pets especially when outside.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning include severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, which may take several hours to appear and can last up to three days.

Poisoning from several varieties including death-cap mushrooms may have delayed onset of symptoms – up to 24-hours – and can cause life-threatening liver damage.

For more information on mushroom poisoning, visit the SA Health website.

Public Health Physician Dr Kate Murton said, “Around half the calls made to the Poisons Information Centre in recent years relate to mushroom poisoning involving children under five.

Our strong advice is do not eat wild mushrooms – it’s not worth the risk. If you suspect you or someone you know has eaten a wild mushroom, do not wait for symptoms to appear.

Contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for advice and always call triple zero (000) in an emergency.

If you suspect your pet has eaten wild mushrooms, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Dr Teresa Lebel, Senior Botanist-Mycologist, Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia said, “Wild mushrooms are fascinating. Some can be bright and colourful, and some have special toxic protection to ensure they flourish by not being eaten – including by humans. Discover, appreciate, photograph them and leave them growing in nature. There is no simple way to tell if a mushroom is safe to eat or not. Our strong advice is people should only eat mushrooms from a reliable supermarket or greengrocer.”

“If you are seeking medical attention after coming in contact with a wild mushroom, you should take photos of the mushroom and the general location.”

“You should also try to take one of the mushrooms with you, if possible, to help experts identify what species it is to determine the most appropriate treatment.”

“You should also try to take one of the mushrooms with you, if possible, to help experts identify what species it is to determine the most appropriate treatment.”

Year Total Mushroom- related SA calls handled by the Poisons Centre
Cases involving children aged under 5
Cases referred to hospital – all ages

2023 (Jan to Mar) 12 6 3 (1 child under 5)
2022 105 56 22 (8 children under 5)
2021 109 45 27 (8 children under 5)
2020 111 68 31 (12 children under 5)
2019 93 72 42 (31 children under 5)
2018 68 38 26 (9 children under 5)
2017 80 48 28 (13 children under 5)
2016 79 51 28 (19 children under 5)
2015 68 44 40 (17 children under 5)
2014 85 50 39 (20 children under 5)
2013 106 72 40 (23 children under 5)

Categories: GENERAL News

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