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Toxic death cap mushrooms showing up in B.C. earlier than usual

Toxic death cap mushrooms are not native to B.C., and can cause severe illness or death if untreated

British Columbians should be on the lookout for toxic mushrooms growing across sourthern parts of the province.

Toxic death cap mushrooms tend to appear during wetter months, but have been appearing earlier than usual.

Earlier in July, a child in the Vancouver Coastal Health region consumed a small a part of a death cap mushroom. The child recovered after receiving medical attention.

Death cap mushrooms are a yellowish-white colour with a ribbed pattern under their caps.

They’ve been found in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Island communities including Comox and the Greater Victoria region.

READ MORE: Death cap mushrooms arrive early in Greater Victoria

Symptoms of death cap poisoning normally onset within six to 12 hours of consuming and include cramping, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.

Twenty-four hours after consumption, many people start to feel better however the toxins will continue to damage vital organs, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Within 72 hours of consuming a death cap mushroom, a second wave of cramping and diarrhea will occur that will result in severe illness and organ failure if no medical attention is sought.

Medical treatment, and possibly an organ transplant, may be necessary to prevent fatalities.

Those who ingest a death cap mushroom are urged to go to the emergency room immediately and call poison control at 1-800-567-8911.

Those who find a patch of these mushrooms are asked to take a photo, note the location and report it to the B.C. Government website. Gloves are recommended when handling death caps, and they should not be disposed of in home composts.

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