Since it's not too cold yet, children are still able to spend more time playing outside. As a result, they have more opportunities to get into, and eat, things they shouldn't. In this month's blog, we wanted to address some common outdoor exposures that we hear about throughout the fall.
Late autumn is mushroom season, and mushroom foraging is becoming increasingly popular. Fall rains cause mushrooms to spring up all over the place, and although they're delicious, it can be very difficult, even for experts, to differentiate between a toxic mushroom and an edible one. As you can imagine, children have it even tougher!
Two of the most dangerous mushrooms we have to worry about in our area, belong to the Amanitin family, and are known as the "death cap" mushroom, and the "destroying angel." Both types can be confused with edible mushrooms, especially in their earliest stages of development. If left untreated, toxins from both of these mushrooms can lead to kidney and liver failure, and can ultimately be fatal. It's very important to teach your children not to eat anything they may find outside, even if it looks like something they may see at the grocery store.
Children come across all kinds of insects while playing outside. While most are relatively harmless, there are two in particular that we seem to get a lot of calls about around this time of year.
We regularly get calls from spring through fall about various plant-related exposure. As a general rule, it requires a lot of plant material to cause significant toxicity, and someone has to really know what they're doing to get fatally ill from it. Everyday plants such as grass, tree leaves, and wild strawberries are never a problem, but there are some plants that pose heightened cause for concern.
These are just some of the most common plants we hear about on a daily basis, but you can learn more about poisonous and nonpoisonous plants and berries by visiting our website. As a general rule, try to keep young children away from plants with yummy-looking berries, and instruct them not to eat anything they find outside.
As always, if you suspect that your child has eaten something they weren't supposed to, please don't hesitate to call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222, and a specially trained pharmacist or nurse will be happy to answer your questions.