When it comes to poison, prevention is the best remedy

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Children act fast, so do poisons is the theme of this year TMs National Poison Prevention Week.

The Palmetto Poison Center received some 36,000 calls in 2010, and more than half of those involved children under age six, according to director Jill Michels.

Whatever you have in your house is what we get calls on.

The top three items children most often ingest are cosmetics, cleaning products, and over-the-counter medications.

Chris Montmeny is the father of three youngsters and has quickly learned that nothing is out of reach for a curious toddler.

He has picked up a glass jar of calcium pills that dropped and shattered, and I thought okay I need to keep a better eye on where my sons are and what they are doing, Montmeny says.

But accidental poisonings can happen to anyone at any age. Around 30 percent of total calls to the Palmetto Poison Center are from adults.

Something people do all the time is when they are cleaning the house and they don't want to carry that big bottle of bleach, they put it in a cup, says Michels. Well they forget the bleach is in the cup and they pick it up thinking it is water.

An alarming change poison control officials are seeing is an increased number of incidents involving teens.

Across the country, there have been nearly 400 calls reported this year about a new and legal household drug called bath salts, a powdery-substance comparable to cocaine.

It has a chemical in it that causes people to have hallucinations, they also can get extremely paranoid when they take it, and it increases the user TMs heart rate and blood pressure, Michels adds.

While calls related to drug abuse are sometimes forwarded onto a doctor's officer or hospital, Michels says eight out of 10 times the Palmetto Poison Center can help individuals manage a poisoning themselves.

Poison control officials suggest these tips to prevent an accidental poisoning:

- Keep all chemicals and medicines locked up and out of the reach.

- Leave items in original containers.

- When products are in use, keep them in sight at all times.

- Call 1-800-222-1222 immediately if you suspect a poisoning.