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Hot and rainy weather has contributed to an increased number of mushrooms in 2013, which is leading workers at the Central Ohio Poison Center to warn residents about the plants’ potential dangers.

Center workers received 74 mushroom-related calls as of mid-July, 2013, which is approximately twice the amount received during the same period in 2012.

Experts blame most of the poisonings on inexperienced foragers who are unable to differentiate edible mushrooms from those that are dangerous. “Mushrooms can be very similar,” Poison Center Henry Spiller said. “You need to be an expert to go out foraging.” Spiller said children are especially at risk of mushroom-related poison due to a common curiosity with the plants.

“A lot of their cartoons have magical lands with mushrooms in them. It’s very pleasant,” he said. Spiller said central Ohio hospitals have admitted several patients who suffered liver damage because of poisonous mushrooms.

He said approximately 5 percent of cases called into his center are classified as severe. SOURCE

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