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Summit County Public Health issues wild mushroom warning

An Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap, stands in grass.
Vlad Siaber
Dangerous Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap stands in soil.

You may be curious about the mushrooms popping up in your yard recently following the rainy weather this summer across Northeast Ohio. Health officials are warning people not to treat these like store-bought mushrooms.

Summit County Public Health has issued a warning about the dangers of picking and consuming mushrooms growing outside. Public health commissioner, Donna Skoda said that wild mushrooms can be toxic.

“This is the time when people will go out and do backyard looking for mushrooms and pets get them,” said Skoda. “Children pick them up and some of them are very, very poisonous, so we wanted to make sure we sort of reminded people: don’t eat wild mushrooms.”

The first symptoms that appear after consuming a poisonous mushroom are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Unfortunately, many times harmful and long-term health effects are likely to follow. In 2021, the CDC did a study that found 9% of those affected by mushroom poisoning face long-term health issues like irregular heartbeat, kidney or liver failure and seizures.

A large, white and red mushroom stands tall at the bottom of a pine tree amongst sticks and soil in the woods.
Jer Hetrick
A Destroying Angel Mushroom, among the most toxic, grows near the base of large pine tree in Pennsylvania.

Even if you believe yourself to be knowledgeable when it comes to recognizing the safe-to-eat mushrooms from the toxic ones, Skoda still recommends avoiding eating any mushrooms found in the wild, since many harmless mushrooms have a similar appearance to toxic ones.

“They can look very innocent, and you can be very very skilled at identifying mushrooms, but it doesn’t mean you are going to get something that’s not poisonous,” said Skoda.

Skoda said there’s been more mushrooms due to recent heavy rains.

“When you get a lot of rainy weather, you start to see mushrooms pop up everywhere,” said Skoda.

If you find wild mushrooms in your yard, Summit County Public Health recommends taking the following steps to remove them:

  • Put on gloves.
  • Remove the mushroom from the ground as soon as you see the cap.
  • Put the mushroom in a plastic bag, tie the bag up tightly, and throw the bag in a trash can.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

If you or someone you know has eaten a wild mushroom, call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room immediately.

Emma MacNiven is a senior journalism student at Kent State University.