What Happens If You Smell Mushrooms? (Solved & Explained!)

Mushrooms are living organisms that have thousands of different species that are similar but are known for their distinctive appearances, tastes, and smells.

Smelling a mushroom, whether non-toxic or poisonous will do you no harm. However, inhaling mushroom spores over long periods can lead to health complications. 

What Happens If You Smell Poisonous Mushrooms?

Those who inhale the spores of poisonous mushrooms for a long time may experience symptoms such as severe headache, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and nausea. 

In more advanced symptoms, various lung conditions may be experienced. However taking one or two sniffs of a poisonous mushroom will not do anything at all, but you should keep your distance and wash your hands immediately if you have touched them.

What Are The Most Poisonous Mushrooms?

Yellow-spotted mushrooms (Agaricus Xanthodermus) can cause death when eaten. Stay away from Yellow Spots, they are one of the most dangerous and deadly mushroom species in the world.

The Death Cap mushrooms are also one of the most dangerous mushrooms that are commonly found in North America and across Europe. If you are not a competent mushroom hunter, definitely stay away from these mushrooms.

While there is guidance for mushroom hunters on how to avoid poisonous mushrooms, the best teacher is experience, so take an experienced mushroom hunter along with you if you are unsure.

When buying mushrooms, it is very important to buy from a reliable source. It is recommended to buy from supermarkets, greengrocers, and other known reputable suppliers whenever possible.

What Are The Side Effects of Poisonous Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are classified as poisonous or non-toxic according to the number of toxic substances in them. 

Some mushrooms contain a large number of poisonous toxins, while others contain very little. Some only make you a little ill, while others can cause death.

If a poisonous mushroom is consumed, the symptoms that appear are severe headache, nausea, stomach cramp, vomiting, weakness, and dizziness. 

In more advanced symptoms, emergency intervention may be required. A person hospitalized for mushroom poisoning may have advanced lung inflammation and kidney failure.

Mushroom poisonings are deadly and dangerous. Therefore, never eat a mushroom that you do not know and do not trust, even for the purpose of trying it.

What Do Mushrooms Smell Like?

In general, mushrooms do not have a strong scent, especially when they are fresh. Most mushrooms have an earthy, woody smell, and some even smell nutty.

The smell of a mushroom depends on its species and where is it grown and what time of year. The nuttier-smelling mushrooms appear during the spring and the earthier scented mushrooms grow in the fall.

Although this is a generalization and not the rule.

When mushrooms turn foul they all develop a mossy smell that is unpleasant. If your mushrooms begin to smell powerful then it is likely that they are turning bad.

Can I Tell a Poisonous Mushroom Apart by Its Smell?

It is very difficult to distinguish poisonous mushrooms from non-poisonous mushrooms. Poisonous mushrooms often smell the same as non-poisonous, there is no way to tell them apart from smell alone.

Poisonous mushrooms are usually more wrinkled and come in shades of purple, brown and black, while non-poisonous mushrooms can be in lighter tones such as creamy yellow-gray. 

However, it is not possible to distinguish whether a mushroom is poisonous or non-poisonous just by looking at its colors either. 

For example, poisonous false morels, a species of Morel mushroom, are known for their resemblance to non-poisonous true Morels. 

The similarity of both species causes great difficulties in distinguishing them. The best way to find out if a mushroom is poisonous is to do as much research on that species as possible and inspect it inside and out before picking it. If you are in doubt, leave it alone or ask an expert with more experience.

What Season Do Mushrooms Grow?

Mushrooms usually grow from the end of winter to the beginning of spring and fall.

April-June and September-November are the ideal time periods for mushrooms to grow. 

After the intense winter season, the soil becomes moist, and unique growth areas for fungi are formed. While the fungi grow in these soils, they also produce their spores for the continuity of the next season.

Is It Safe To Smell Poisonous Mushrooms?

It is not recommended to smell mushrooms over long periods of time, or in a closed environment. This is a common risk for scientists who grow poisonous mushrooms for pharmaceutical reasons.

Although some mushrooms are tempting to smell, you should not smell or taste a mushroom that you are not sure of.

One reason is that prolonged exposure to the smell of mushrooms can cause you to experience lung problems and breathing difficulties. 

When poisonous mushrooms are inhaled consistently, they can cause you to experience symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and nausea after a certain period of time.

Is it Fatal to Smell Poisonous Mushrooms?

It is not fatal to smell poisonous mushrooms, but it is recommended not to smell mushrooms that you don’t know or keep them in a closed environment because their spores can make you ill.

How poisonous a mushroom is and how much damage it will cause depends on the species, and unless you are a mushroom expert it is hard to tell.

Inhaling mushroom spores for long periods can cause various lung disorders, but not death. Death can come swiftly for those who eat poisonous mushrooms but not those who inhale them.

Can I Get Food Poisoning From Mushrooms?

Food poisoning may occur as a result of excessive consumption of edible mushrooms that have gone bad. Eating mushrooms that are out of date can make you ill because bacteria will have begun to form on them that can cause stomach upsets.

The symptoms of food poisoning are:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Food poisoning is usually mild and passes within 24-48 hours with good fluid intake. If you have had food poisoning from stale mushrooms and your symptoms persist longer than this then seek medical help.