UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Mushroom Ingestion - When Do You Worry

Keywords: Mushroom, vomiting (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/22/2013 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 2/18/2020)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

We will all see a patient that comes into the Emergency Department stating they have ingested some wild or self-picked mushrooms. Usually they will be actively vomiting and there will be no mushroom to identify. If there is, identification may still be difficult. There are no other clinical relevant symptoms that you can see until its too late. Amanita species is lethal and may require liver transplant. The most important question you can ask after trying to identify the mushroom is:

When did you eat the mushroom and how long after did the vomiting start?

As a general rule (with some exceptions), Amanita species cause vomiting and diarrhea in a delayed fashion 5-6 hours after ingestion. The other non hepatotoxic species usually cause vomiting within 1-3 hours.

Immediate vomiting <6 hrs from time of ingestion is good (usually).