What Is Dead Man’s Finger?
Dead Man’s Finger (DMMF) is a fungal disease which affects the skin and hair. DMMF causes redness, itching, swelling, pain and itchiness. The symptoms are similar to those caused by poison ivy or poison oak but it is not poisonous.
Symptoms of DMMF include:
Redness, swelling, burning sensation, itching and itchiness at the affected area.
How Do You Get DMMF?
The fungi responsible for causing DMMF are called Candida albicans. They are found naturally in warm moist environments such as under rocks and soil. However, they can also be introduced into your home through contaminated water or food.
If you have been exposed to these fungi then you may develop DMMF. The most common way is from eating raw mushrooms containing the spores of C. albicans. Other ways include touching infected areas with bare hands, inhaling spores from contaminated air, coming in contact with infected animals or plants and having close contact with someone who has DMMF.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Dead Man’s Finger?
Anyone can develop DMMF at any age. The biggest risk factor is an impaired immune system. Those with low immune systems are more likely to develop DMMF, especially children and the elderly. If you have a weak immune system then you need to be extra careful about avoiding exposure to DMMF.
How Is Dead Man’s Finger Diagnosed?
DMMF is diagnosed through a physical examination by a doctor or other medical professional. Your doctor will look for redness and scaling of your skin which indicate an infection. Your doctor will take a scraping of the infected areas, which will then be sent to a laboratory for further testing.
What Are The Treatment Options For Dead Man’s Finger?
As with any infection, treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms. In most cases, this means anti-fungal medication. The area may also be treated with medicated creams or lotions to relieve itching and pain.
How Can You Prevent Dead Man’s Finger?
The best way to prevent DMMF is to avoid all contact with the fungus. Since this is not always possible (or practical), there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk:
- Wear gloves when handling soil or anything that may have come into contact with soil.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them.
- Stop smoking.
- Maintain a healthy immune system.
Wash your hands frequently, especially after being in soil or handling mushrooms or other fungus.
If you think you have DMMF then seek medical attention right away as it can spread to other parts of the body. If left untreated DMMF can cause serious complications such as kidney failure.
Mushroom poisoning is more common than you think, especially when it comes to the death cap mushroom. About 40% of mushroom poisonings are due to this type of mushroom.
How Can You Recognize Dead Man’s Fingers?
As its name suggests, this mushroom resembles one particular part of the male anatomy. Unlike other types of mushrooms, it usually grows in clusters near the base of oak trees and other types of hardwood trees. It has a thick stalk and a bulbous head at the top that is usually brown or white in color. It also has a porous appearance. While it may be tempting to try this mushroom for cooking, if you see one you should definitely avoid it.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dead Man’s Fingers?
If you or someone you know eats this mushroom, there are a number of symptoms you can expect to see. Some of these include:
- Muscle Pain and Weakness
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal Pain
Damage to major organs, most commonly the liver, but also the kidneys and brain. Death is also a possibility.
What Are The Treatment Options For Dead Man’s Fingers?
If you suspect that someone has eaten this mushroom, seek immediate medical attention. Several treatments are available to help save the person’s life. These include:
Fluids and Electrolytes: This rehydrates the patient and helps with fluid and electrolyte balance.
Antidotes: If the patient has absorbed the toxins, there are certain antidotes that can help treat the damage.
Liver Transplant: If the toxin has caused liver failure, doctors may need to perform a liver transplant.
How Can You Prevent Eating Dead Man’s Fingers?
The best way to prevent this is by avoiding all types of mushrooms, especially ones you find in the wild as their resemblance to certain parts of the male anatomy can be quite deceiving! If you must forage for food, make sure you get a proper identification before consuming anything.
How Does Dead Man’s Fingers Spread?
As previously mentioned, the most common way for humans to come into contact with this mushroom is by eating it. While most people will spit it out almost immediately upon biting into one, there are some unfortunate few who are unaware of what they’ve eaten and swallow it instead.
It can also spread from the soil or through contaminated water or food. Contamination can occur when people handle this mushroom without gloves and then touch other types of food without washing their hands first.
It is very rare for this mushroom to spread from one human to another. In fact, the most common way it spreads is from a dog that has eaten it and then licks its owner’s hand.
What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Dead Man’s Fingers?
The long-term effects of this mushroom are less known as it is so rare for humans to eat it. However, eating it does not seem to cause any long-term effects other than possible liver damage or even death, as the liver works to break down the toxins in the body.
Other than that, there are no long-term effects.
Can You Recover From Dead Man’s Fingers?
Yes, you can recover from eating dead man’s fingers. It is very rare for a person to eat this mushroom as it does not resemble other types of mushrooms found in North America and people are usually aware of what it looks like and that it can kill you. As such, if you do happen to accidentally eat one, seek immediate medical attention.
How Do You Get Rid Of Dead Man’s Fingers?
The best way to get rid of dead man’s fingers is to wear gloves when handling any type of mushroom, especially if you see them growing outside. If you are concerned that you may have come into contact with this type of mushroom, seek immediate medical attention.
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Been Exposed?
If you think you have been exposed to this mushroom then you should seek immediate medical attention. This is especially important if you have eaten part of one and are concerned about liver damage. Do not wait to see if any symptoms appear because by the time they do it may be too late for your body to flush out the toxins naturally. Instead, having a doctor monitor you while they give you a liver transplant could save your life.
Dead man’s fingers is a rare mushroom that can have a significant impact on one’s health if eaten. Fortunately, it is also a rare mushroom and is easily avoidable as long as you do not pick or eat anything that you find in nature unless you have a proper mushroom guide with you or are 100% certain of what it is.
Sources & references used in this article:
The sacred mushroom and the cross by JM Allegro – 1970 – evolveconsciousness.org
Time of death, decomposition and identification: an atlas by A Finger – 2006 – Macmillan
The mushroom hunter’s field guide by J Dix, M Graham – 1999 – books.google.com
The hallucinogenic fungi of Mexico: an inquiry into the origins of the religious idea among primitive peoples by W Manchester – 2008 – Little, Brown
A Homozygous CARD9 Mutation in a Family with Susceptibility to Fungal Infections by AH Smith, NS Weber, NS Weber – 1980 – books.google.com