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August 4, 2017

The New Jersey Poison Center at Rutgers Medical School, has issued a warning about the dangers of eating wild mushrooms, after 15 cases of poisoning have been reported during the past 10 days. “Picking and eating wild mushrooms can be a dangerous game,” Dr. Diane Calello, medical director of the center, said. “Even those who think they can identify a toxic mushroom can be fooled,” Calello added.

Several of the reported cases of poisoning resulted in hospitalizations with potentially life-threatening consequences, the center reported. Symptoms of poisoning can include intense vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

The center warned that online mushroom identification sites can be falsely reassuring. People in doubt can call the NJ Poison Center (1-800-222-1222), which will arrange for an expert to identify the mushroom and give advice depending on the identification. It helps, the center noted, if people take a digital photograph of the mushroom(s) next to an object such as a coin or ruler, to give a sense of scale.

The center warned that “time is of the essence... If someone is unconscious, not breathing, seizing, difficult to wake up, etc., call 911.”

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