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About Sickkids
About SickKids

September 30, 2006

Health alert from the Ontario Regional Poison Information Centre: Warning against consuming wild mushrooms

(TORONTO) – The Ontario Regional Poison Information Centre, located at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), is warning the public of the serious health risks associated with eating wild mushrooms, after several adults and children from across Ontario were hospitalized earlier this week with life-threatening symptoms. Eating a small part of any wild mushroom can cause serious illness and can be fatal. Some may confuse wild mushrooms with similar-looking non-toxic mushrooms found in China and other parts of the world.

“It is dangerous to eat any mushroom that you have found outdoors,” says Dr. Margaret Thompson, medical director of the Ontario Regional Information Poison Centre. “Poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms grow side by side. Only a mushroom expert can tell the difference so avoid picking or eating mushrooms altogether.”

Advice from the Ontario Regional Poison Information Centre on how to avoid mushroom poisonings:

  • Check your lawn for mushrooms before children go outdoors to play, especially after a rainfall.
  • Remove and throw away all mushrooms growing near your home.
  • Cooking outdoor mushrooms does not make them safe to eat.
  • After eating a poisonous mushroom, an adult or child may not become ill for many hours.
  • Symptoms most commonly associated with eating poisonous mushrooms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. More severe symptoms include sweating, convulsions, hallucinations and coma.
  • After consuming a wild mushroom, do not wait until you feel sick to call the Poison Information Centre.

Anyone with health concerns related to eating wild mushrooms should consult a health-care provider or call the Ontario Regional Poison Information Centre, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is available at 1-800-268-9017 if you live in Ontario or 416-813-5900 in the Toronto area.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. Our mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca . SickKids is committed to healthier children for a better world.

For more information, please contact:

Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Avenue
Suite 1742, Public Affairs, First floor Atrium
Toronto, ON
M5G 1X8
Phone: 416-813-5058
Fax: 416-813-5328