Be sure you know your stuff before going picking

Eating wild mushrooms is not for the faint of heart.

At least six varieties of potentially poisonous mushrooms grow in New Hampshire. They can cause a variety of problems, including kidney failure, uncontrollable drooling, hallucinations, jaundice and vomiting as long as five days after consumption.The state Division of Public Health Services is so concerned about first-time mushroom hunters after this wet summer that they recently issued a special warning, in which they noted that the Northern New England Poison Center gets more than 100 calls annually about mushroom poisonings.

Of particular concern are children, because their low body weight means that they can be affected by even small amount of toxin in a single bite.

“It is important to watch young children carefully, and to teach them not to touch, taste or smell any new item without first asking an adult,” said Dr. Jose Montero, director of the state’s public health division.

If a wild mushroom is eaten and concerns come up, a sample of the mushroom should be saved in a bowl or a paper bag – not in a plastic bag, because plastic can cause mushrooms to “melt” – and a call placed to the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.