How to recognize symptoms of mushroom poisoning?

How to recognize symptoms of mushroom poisoning?

There are 20-25 types of poisonous mushrooms in Georgia.

Mushroom is distinguished in three primary groups:

  1. Edible;
  2. Conditionally edible (that needs special  processing in cooking to use it in a meal, for example, to boil for 20 minutes, discard broth or dry them for 2-3 weeks);
  3. Poisonous that contain specific toxins (poison).

Almost all edible mushrooms have their own inedible or poisonous “doppelganger.” Poisoning is primarily caused by poisonous or conditionally poisonous mushrooms. Seldom but edible mushrooms also cause intoxication, especially after hot weather, in case of aged or worm-eaten mushrooms, which accumulate toxins over time. 

In the case of mushroom poisoning, even if it’s a suspicion, it's necessary to move the patient to the clinic. A patient has to receive maximally full, complex and emergency treatment.

Head of the multi-field department of National Center of Surgery, Maia Bezhanishvili discusses mushroom intoxication.

Ms. Maia states – “Mushroom poisoning is often caused by improper processing-conservation of the mushroom. Mostly, in 90-95% of cases of poisoning by poisonous mushroom end fatally with death. Time differences in presentation of poisoning depend on the type of mushroom (from 1-2 hours till 12 hours and also, might last till 72 hours), therefore the symptoms differ as well.

As you’ve already stated, intoxication presents itself with various symptoms, but could you indicate primary signs that generally characterize mushroom intoxication?

In most cases,  it presents the following symptoms:

  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Sweatiness;
  • Weakness;
  • Dyspnoea;
  • Hypersalivation (excessive production of saliva)
  • Delusion;
  • Hallucination;
  • Collapse;
  • Coma;
  • Headache;
  • Excessive thirst 

– How can we suspect a mushroom to be poisonous?

Unfortunately,for citizens it’ll be hard to differentiate, because poisonous mushrooms don't have specific signs like the unpleasant smell, bitter taste, etc –what looks like a completely normal mushroom at the first glance, might contain life-threatening heavy metals and radioactive substances

A person's allergic reaction to mushrooms should be considered as well. That’s why people who are allergic to mushrooms, should completely discard mushrooms from their nutrition!

How does poisonous mushroom affect organism?

A poison that mushrooms contain varies based on their effect… Intoxication might only affect the digestive system. Usually, the effect of poison presents itself after 1 or 2 hours with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, sweatiness, weakness, and diarrhea.

The possibility of poison having an affect on the nervous system cannot be excluded. In this case, signs of poisoning present itself half an hour or 4 hours after eating with severe nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, loss of consciousness, severe sweatiness, hysterical laughter and crying, hallucination. 

– How to help the affected person?

The only way to help is to promptly move the patient to the clinic. Keep in mind that it's possible for the health condition of the patient to rapidly deteriorate, worsen further and even end with death That’s why in case of mild poisoning or even a suspicion of having one, visit to a doctor is necessary. The late start of the treatment might be detrimental! Visit to a doctor is also recommended for those who ate mushroom with the affected person but still don't experience any symptoms of intoxication.  In this case, time is the deciding factor, because poison might start to affect them in several hours.

Wish you health