Good mushroom harvest results in poisoning boom

Look, don't touch: the iconic - but poisonous - fly agaric mushroom Keystone / Ingo Wagner

The number of mushroom poisonings increased by 25% in Switzerland last year compared with 2021. However, the national poison hotline dealt with fewer suicide attempts.

This content was published on January 30, 2023 minutes

The increase in mushroom poisonings was due to the good mushroom year of 2022, Tox Info SuisseExternal link said on Monday. Looking back over the past 20 years, it was the year with the second-largest number of consultations in which mushroom poisoning was present or suspected, after 2019.

On the other hand, the number of calls about suicide attempts (4,486) decreased by 4%. In 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of suicide calls had risen significantly, especially among young people.

The total number of consultations at Tox Info Suisse increased by 2.5% last year to 40,582. Poisoning with medicines and household products were the most common. Notable increases were seen in poisoning with plants (9%) and food and beverages (11%).

As every year, some 40% of calls concerned pre-school children, typically accidents. In the case of adolescents, who accounted for about 10% of calls, the focus was on intentional poisoning, especially suicide attempts and, to a lesser extent, substance abuse.

In Switzerland the emergency number for poisoning is 145. Specially trained physicians will give advice 24/7 in cases of poisoning with, for example, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, other drugs, poisonous plants, mushrooms or venomous animals.

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