Mushrooms, also called toadstools, often grow in lawns after wet or rainy weather. Although most lawn toadstools are safe to eat, some types are poisonous. Poisonous toadstools can be fatal, even ingested in small amounts. Only trained experts can distinguish poisonous toadstools from safe, edible toadstools, so avoid eating those that grow in your yard.
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Of the 5,000 types of mushrooms in North America, only eight species are known to be poisonous. However, it is extremely difficult to tell poisonous toadstools and safe toadstools apart, and there is no antidote for toadstools poisoning. You can't tell whether toadstools are poisonous from their color, whether they peel, where they grow, or from what wild animals eat them. Some toadstools are so toxic that a single mushroom can kill you. In addition, some people have allergies to non-poisonous toadstools, and some toadstools become toxic if mixed with alcohol.
Symptoms of toadstool poisoning depend on the type and quantity of toadstool consumed. Victims may experience nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, seizures and organ damage. Symptoms may appear as soon as 30 minutes or as late as 24 hours after ingesting the toadstool. Symptoms from minor poisoning may last for a few days, while severe cases are sometimes fatal. Children and the elderly are most susceptible to toadstool poisoning.
If you or a child has eaten a wild toadstool, contact the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Refrigerate the remainder of the toadstool in a bag clearly labeled POISONOUS and collect similar samples, if possible. A trained mycologist can identify the mushroom later. Don't crush the mushrooms. It may be necessary to go to the emergency room, and you may be advised to induce vomiting through ipecac or other measures. If the victim vomits, collect the vomit.
Avoid toadstool poisoning by never eating mushrooms from your lawn, even if they are cooked. If you have pets or small children, knock over toadstools that appear after rain and remove them to prevent your children from playing with them. In addition, teach children to avoid wild mushrooms and toadstools.