Each year people in NJ get sick and some die from eating mushrooms they pick from their yards, lawns, and while hiking or camping. There is no easy way to tell the difference between poisonous and harmless mushrooms. In addition, poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms can grow side by side. Many kinds of edible mushrooms have toxic “look-alikes” which can only be distinguished by an expert. Often the victim of a poisonous mushroom ingestion is a traveler or immigrant who sees a mushroom that looks very similar to a mushroom that was edible in the person’s country of origin but is toxic in the U.S.
If you or someone else have eaten a wild mushroom remember; time is of the essence when it comes to mushroom poisoning. Do not wait for symptoms to appear or spend time searching the internet for next steps.
• Call the Poison Control Center’s Poison Help line, 1-800-222-1222, immediately to get the medical help or information you need. Our help is free and available 24/7 to NJ residents. The Poison Center may arrange for an expert to identify the mushroom.
• Remove any remaining parts of the mushroom from the person’s mouth and place those fragments and all mushrooms that are in the immediate vicinity of the incident into one or more paper bags (NOT plastic!).
• Take a digital photograph of the mushroom(s) in question. It helps to take a picture of the mushroom next to other objects such as a coin, ruler, etc. to provide a sense of scale.
If you or someone you know has just ingested a mushroom that was obtained from the lawn, forest floor, etc, or just have a question about plants or mushrooms, remember help is just a phone call away. 1-800-222-1222