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Don't eat wild mushrooms, Philly Poison Control Center warns

Philly Poison Control Center warns not to eat wild mushrooms
Philly Poison Control Center warns not to eat wild mushrooms 02:14

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new warning was issued from the Philadelphia Poison Control Center about eating wild mushrooms collected outside. There's been a sudden increase in the number of people being hospitalized after consuming them. 

First, mushrooms from a store or restaurant are considered safe. Doctors say the potential problem happens when people pick their own mushrooms from the wild. 

Foraging for mushrooms is popular at this time of the year and Sam Bucciarelli is an expert. 

"Oh, here's a cute little mushroom," Bucciarelli said. 

She's with the Philadelphia Mycology Club. Mycology is the study of mushrooms. This is one of her tours on Youtube. 

"Over here we have some really beautiful, fresh oyster mushrooms," Bucciarelli said. 

But, wild mushrooms can be dangerous. The Philadelphia Poison Control Center says in the past month there have been 11 cases of wild mushroom poisonings, which is higher than average.

"One patient required a life-saving organ transplant," Robert Bassett said. 

Toxicologist Robert Bassett works with the Philadelphia Poison Control Center at CHOP. He says people collect and consume wild mushrooms both for culinary purposes or to get high. 

"Certain mushrooms can cause seizures, aberrations and vital signs. And the ones that are most feared from a physician's standpoint are the ones that cause organ failure," Bassett said. 

There are thousands of different kinds of mushrooms, most are not poisonous, but it can be hard to tell the difference. 

"It is just really really easy to mistakenly identify a poisonous mushroom for an edible mushroom and the consequences are not just serious, but deadly," Bassett said. 

The poison center is sending out a warning to never eat mushrooms gathered foraging and when outside, be especially careful with children and animals. 

"The safest way to make sure that your mushrooms are safe for consumption is to buy them at a grocery store," Bassett said. 

Doctors say cooking wild mushrooms does not make them safe to eat. Symptoms from eating poisonous mushrooms can take hours or days to show up. 

The poison control center hotline is open 24 hours per day. The number is 1-800-222-1222.

Click here for more information. 

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