July 21, 2024

While the flourishing of wild mushrooms is nature’s bounty especially this rainy season, the Benguet Provincial Health Office has reminded the public to be wary of picking and consuming mushrooms as they may confuse the poisonous ones for the edible kind.

“The public is advised to inspect the foraged mushrooms thoroughly before cooking. Some edible mushrooms have look-alikes that can be poisonous. Discard if unsure,” the PHO-Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit said in an advisory.

The office said that a case of mushroom poisoning was recently reported by one of its disease reporting units, which alleged it was caused by the mushroom locally called tagtaga.

The endemic mushroom is said to contain hallucinogenic properties, which also grows alongside other edible mushrooms. 

PESU has recorded a clustering of mushroom poisoning cases recently, thus prompting the advisory, which was posted in its Facebook account. 

The PESU has reminded foragers to discard mushrooms if unsure if it is edible or not. Cooking the mushrooms will not remove or deactivate its toxins, it stated.  

Local mushroom foragers advise the public to avoid mushrooms with white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sac-like base called a volva, and those with red on the cap or stem.

“Do not ingest any wild mushroom unless you are 100 percent sure they are safe to eat,” the advisory reads.

Common symptoms for mushroom poisoning are cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, flushing in the face and abdomen, and heart palpitations.

Serious symptoms are seizures, hallucinations, difficulty in breathing, kidney or liver failure, and comatose.

The symptoms may appear right after eating the poisonous mushroom or may appear several hours later. Symptoms that occur within two hours are less dangerous than those that appear later or after six hours, the PESU stated.

Victims of mushroom poisoning are advised to seek immediate assistance at the nearest health facility once they have experienced these symptoms after ingestion of mushrooms. – Ofelia C. Empian