Just how fast is mushroom poisoning? Would you drop dead on the spot or have a couple of days to settle your stuff? Let’s answer that right away:
THE SPEED OF MUSHROOM POISONING
The speed of mushroom poisoning varies. The fastest are mushrooms that contain the poison muscarine: a panther cap could kill you in a 2-3 hours. Mushrooms with alpha amanitine, like death caps or galerinas, kill within 3–7 days. Webcap poison, orellanine, can kill in 2-3 weeks.
Make sure that you follow the rules of safe foraging and only consume mushrooms that you are 100% sure are edible. In case of severe problems after mushroom consumption, consider if mushroom poisoning is a possibility.
HOW MANY DEADLY MUSHROOM SPECIES ARE THERE?
While there are many poisonous mushrooms, only about 70 species out of the 14000 described are deadly.
HOW TO IDENTIFY MUSHROOM
While describing mushrooms, I do my best to help you identify mushrooms properly. However, it is your full responsibility for how you use my advice and whether you recognize mushrooms properly.
When comparing mushrooms to their descriptions, make sure to confirm each sign that is described. If the mushroom doesn’t fit just one of the signs, it is probably a different species.
Only forage mushrooms that you are 100% sure about. When you learn new species, go through all the identification signs. In case of doubt, toss the mushroom or seek confirmation from an expert.
I am willing to confirm the IDs of mushrooms that I know. And there are mycology groups on Facebook in most states and countries, where you will get your questions answered by some very knowledgeable and nice people.
By adopting a reasonable careful approach, you ensure that foraging becomes a great hobby that can get you lots of free food. Don’t take a leap of faith that could turn something wonderful into a disaster.
You can also read my article This is how you forage mushrooms safely.
The symptoms of muscarine poisoning resemble drunkenness and appear shortly after consumption. The first symptoms of amanitine poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. They appear 8-24 hours after consumption.
>> I described amanitine poisoning more thoroughly in the post Death cap, the deadliest mushroom in the world (guide)
MUSHROOM POISONING DEATH RATE
Note that no mushroom has a 100% death rate. The deadliest one of them all, the death cap, “only” kills 50% of its victims if the poisoning isn’t treated, and about 13% of those who get proper medical help.
MUSHROOM POISONING FIRST AID
If you suspect that you are poisoned, you will need medical help. Call an ambulance, drink water, and eat activated carbon. If you have the rest of the mushrooms that you ate, keep them for analysis – it will be important what kind of poison you consumed.
Get to a doctor quickly even if the symptoms recede – it is typical for some poisonings and it can be a grave mistake to think everything is OK because you feel better.
Once again, I can’t repeat it enough times: to keep foraging save and enjoyable, only forage and consume mushrooms that you can identify 100% as edible!