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Warnings on poisonous mushrooms

Death cap mushroom.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Autumn’s mild and wet weather has resulted in an abundance of mushrooms growing in backyards and parks, and Mount Alexander Shire Council is urging people to take care.

Death cap and yellow-staining mushrooms have been identified in various locations throughout the shire, including the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. These toxic mushrooms closely resemble common varieties sold in shops, and are difficult for untrained foragers to identify.

“Unless you are an expert, do not pick and eat wild mushrooms. Poisonings can easily occur if you inadvertently include toxic species,” said Tracey Watson, Coordinator Public and Environmental Health, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

If eaten, poisonous mushrooms can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and hallucinations. Some mushrooms can cause liver and/or kidney failure and death. Symptoms usually occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after ingestion.

“If you become ill after eating mushrooms please seek urgent medical advice and, if possible, take samples of the whole mushroom for identification,” said Ms Watson.

“It’s especially important to keep an eye on children and pets outside as mushrooms are easily in reach and can look interesting and attractive to eat,” she said.

“If you suspect that you or your child has eaten a poisonous mushroom, do not wait for symptoms to occur before seeking medical attention.”

In most cases, the sooner treatment can begin, the better the outcome.

Poisonous mushrooms are also a threat to pets, particularly dogs. Pets can develop a range of illnesses from eating wild mushrooms, from a gastroenteritis-type syndrome to severe life-threatening disease and death.

Pet owners should take particular care while walking their pets in areas where mushrooms may grow and where possible, remove any mushrooms from their yard before they have a chance to eat them.

Where to get help:
• In an emergency always call triple zero (000)
• Emergency department of your nearest hospital
• Your GP
• Call the Victorian Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for advice
• Animal Poisons Centre on 1300 869 738 for advice.

For further information visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.

Image: Death cap mushroom.

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