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Toxic mushrooms plaguing the Garden State, poisonings on the rise

Posted at 6:29 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 18:29:17-04

NEWARK, N.J. -- People are ending up in the emergency room over poisonous, wild mushrooms. So many people, that New Jersey Poison Control is issuing a warning.

"We’re really afraid that someone is going to end up picking a seriously dangerous mushroom," said New Jersey Poison Control Center Managing Director Bruce Ruck. "We’ve already had a number of people hospitalized for severe nausea and vomiting."

The hot, humid and rainy summer has translated into thriving wild mushrooms everywhere: in yards, parks and forests.

Between July 1st and now — 56 people have called New Jersey Poison Control feeling nauseous or vomiting after eating wild-picked mushrooms.

Taking a risk on wild mushrooms without an experts help — can also lead to diarrhea, dehydration and damage to vital organs or even death.

"The problem is they look alike. So even if you’re eating a mushroom from outside of New Jersey that you’ve picked many, many times in the past -- it could look like that same mushroom here in New Jersey, but it could actually be a toxic variety," explained Ruck. "So our recommendation is to only eat mushrooms that you have purchased, unless you are with a mushroom specialist."

Of course if you do eat a wild mushroom — and you start to feel sick — you should call New Jersey Poison Control at 800-222-1222.

It is also helpful is to take pictures of one of the mushrooms with a coin in the photo next so experts can identify it. The coin or a ruler is helpful to measure the mushroom's scale.

You can also preserve part of mushroom for experts to take a look.

Cooking wild mushrooms does not get rid of the toxins inside.