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Mushrooms are a common toxic exposure, with >6600 poisonous mushroom exposures and six deaths reported to poison control centers in 2012 and more than half occurring in children <6 years of age.1

Fortunately, the majority of reported mushroom exposures have a benign outcome.2,3 To prevent mushroom poisoning, avoid eating wild mushrooms. There are no easily recognizable differences between nonpoisonous and poisonous mushrooms. Mushroom toxins are not heat labile and so are not destroyed or deactivated by cooking, canning, freezing, drying, or other means of food preparation.

Depending on the type of mushroom, adverse effects from ingestion range from mild GI symptoms to major cytotoxic effects resulting in organ failure and death. Toxicity varies based on the amount ingested, the age of the mushroom, the season, the geographic location, and the way in which the mushroom was prepared prior to ingestion. One person may show significant effects, whereas others may be asymptomatic after ingesting the same mushroom (Table 219-1).

TABLE 219-1Mushrooms: Symptoms, Toxicity, and Treatment

Mushroom toxicity is divided into early toxicity (within 2 hours after ingestion) and delayed toxicity (6 hours to 20 days later).

Mushroom poisoning occurs ...

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