Fight the Flu!

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season!

If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, call (908) 359-8211, ext. 235 to schedule an appointment to receive your flu shot.

January Is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Regular Screenings and HPV Vaccine May Save Your Life

Following the medical guidelines for routine screening of cervical cancer is important.

Post Date:01/22/2020

The Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition (RCDC) are urging women to take advantage of potentially life-saving screenings and immunizations that can significantly decrease one’s risk of developing cervical cancer.

Although cervical cancer is most prevalent in women age 30 years and over, all women are at risk. Early detection of cervical cancer through regular screening via a Pap test and/or HPV test is critical since it can increase your chance of survival if diagnosed and treated promptly.

What are Pap and HPV tests?
A Pap test finds abnormal cells that may turn into cancer if not treated, while an HPV test detects the human papillomavirus.   HPV is a precursor for cervical cancer but is preventable by getting the HPV vaccine.  In fact, 93% of women survive after receiving a diagnosis of early-stage cervical cancer, which shows the importance of regular screening.

It is recommended that women get a Pap test every three years beginning at age 21. From ages 30 to 65 years, women should continue with regular Pap tests but can go as long as five years between tests if combined with a test for HPV.

Routine screening is important
Following the medical guidelines for routine screening of cervical cancer is important, because women who have early-stage cervical cancer often do not have symptoms.  Abnormal vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge and pain during sex are all signs that a woman may have advanced-stage cervical cancer. Although these symptoms may be an indication of other conditions, if women are urged to consult with a healthcare provider as soon as possible if they ever experience any of these.

Receiving an HPV vaccination is the best way to prevent infections caused by the HPV virus, which leads to the majority (90%) of all cervical cancer cases in the United States.  While HPV can be transmitted through sexual contact, it is recommended that boys and girls at age 11 and 12 receive the vaccination long before they are exposed, and while their immune response is high.  Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of receiving the HPV vaccine.

Practice healthy habits
Lifestyle can also factor into your risk of cervical cancer. Practicing good health habits, like not smoking, eating a diet high in fruits and veggies, and staying at a healthy weight are important.   On the other hand, long-term use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills), use of intrauterine (IUD) devices, having multiple full-term pregnancies, and being younger than 17-years of age with your first full-term pregnancy are factors that can negatively affect your chances of getting cervical cancer. It is important to become educated about cervical cancer prevention and consult with your healthcare provider about what is right for you.

For more information on Cervical Cancer Prevention, including information on low cost or reduced-cost medical care, visit the Morris Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition at

The Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of Cancer Control and Prevention and is administered by the Somerset County Department of Health.

To stay up to date with Somerset County events and information, sign up for free email alerts at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

NJ Poison Control Center Poison Prevention Week Video Contest

The New Jersey Poison Control Center is happy to announce the second annual National Poison Prevention Week Video Contest. This contest is open to all New Jersey residents from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Please forward this email/attachment to anyone who might be interested in participating in the contest.

All videos should be no longer than 2 minutes and should educate the public about the dangers of poisons and communicates ways we can all take responsibility for preventing poisonings while promoting the national poison helpline. All submissions should be submitted through the national contest website by January 15, 2020. Contest rules and submission requirements can be found through the official contest website;

All questions regarding this contest should be directed to the national organizers (call: 419-534-4700|

If you have an event coming up, would like to plan a program, or have any questions about National Poison Prevention Week/poison education in New Jersey please contact health education specialist, Danielle Bartsche (

Thank you and GOOD LUCK!
The Public Education Department at the New Jersey Poison Center

Are you FLUent in flu prevention?

As the weather starts to cool and we transition from fall to winter, it’s important to remember that we are well into the fall influenza season. The following are some of the key ways to protect yourself and your community against the flu this flu season.

Get Your Annual Flu Vaccine
The single most effective protection against flu is getting a flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all individuals 6 months of age and older receive the flu vaccine each year, as long as they do not have a contraindication. This is key to ensuring optimal protection for the upcoming flu season because circulating flu viruses can change season to season and the body’s response to prior flu vaccinations also decreases over time. It can take a couple of weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective, so the best time to get vaccinated is before the start of the flu season. Some of the common side effects of the flu shot include soreness and redness at the injection site. It’s also possible to have muscle aches or a low-grade fever after receiving the flu shot. It is not possible to get the flu from the flu shot.
Some people that are thinking about getting the flu shot may have concerns about its effectiveness and that they may still get the flu even though they received the shot. An important thing to remember is that although the effectiveness of the flu shot varies from year to year, studies have shown that getting the flu vaccine reduces the severity of illness and complications from the flu in people that still get the flu even though they were vaccinated. Getting the annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against severe illness and complications from the flu.

Practice Common Everyday Prevention Measures
Flu is mainly spread from person to person through droplets generated when a sick individual sneezes, coughs, or talks. To help reduce to spread of the flu, remember to take common everyday prevention measures: wash your hands, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow if a tissue isn’t available, and clean high touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.

Stay Home While You’re Sick
People sick with the flu are generally the most contagious during the first few days of illness. To help prevent the spread of the flu, the CDC recommends staying home, unless seeking medical care or other necessities, for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the aid of fever-reducing medications.

If you haven’t already gotten your flu shot, we still have vaccines available! Please call the Montgomery Township Health Department (908) 359-8211 to schedule your appointment today!


Healthy Holiday Baking Tips

American Institute for Cancer Research

Healthy Holiday Baking Tips by Sheena Swanner

The holiday season is here! Transform your holiday baking with tips from AICR’s registered dietitian to make your recipes lighter and healthier. Increase the nutritional benefits and trim calories by cutting back on added fats and sugars, while still enjoying your favorite holiday dishes and desserts. Try these AICR healthy recipe modifications:

  1. Swap refined flours for whole-grain flours.

In many recipes, you can substitute 100% whole-grain flour for refined flour or simply use a mix of half 100% whole-grain flour and half refined flour, like all-purpose flour. This trick can add fiber and nutrients to a variety of recipes, and added fiber is beneficial for your digestive tract.

  1. Cut back on added sugars.

Cutting back on 25% of sugars in a recipe will not make a noticeable difference to the taste, so try to reduce the amount of sugar you use. When you do reduce the sugar in a recipe, it is recommended to increase liquid. You can also add mashed bananas or applesauce as a natural way to sweeten desserts or toss in dried fruits that don’t contain added sugars; dates, apricots, and raisins are naturally sweet. There is an indirect link between sugar and cancer, as consuming foods with added sugars can lead to consuming more calories and cause weight gain. Having overweight or obesity increases the risk of 12 types of cancer.

  1. Increase fiber.

You can add high fiber ingredients such as rolled oats, dried fruit, pureed beans, nuts and seeds into your waffles, pancakes, muffins, or other holiday dishes. Top with fresh fruit such as mashed or whole berries for more added flavor and fiber! Using this easy trick is a great way to increase fiber intake. As part of a healthy eating pattern to lower cancer risk, AICR recommends getting at least 30g of fiber each day. Try making this Nectarine and Raspberry Cobbler for your next holiday gathering. One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber!

  1. Spice things up.

Warm, aromatic spices are always a hit for the holidays. Adding a few dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove to any holiday recipe is not only a great way to add holiday cheer, but spices also provide cancer-fighting phytochemicals. These spices are another great way to add additional flavor to your foods to help you cut back on salt and sugar in your baking.

  1. Boost nutrients and flavor.

Make dessert recipes that feature fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds as the star of the show, like AICR’s Easy Baked Apples with Walnuts and Raisins or No-Knead Bread with Fruit and Nuts.  You can add shredded or pureed apples, pears, carrots, coconut, mashed banana, pumpkin or sweet potatoes to boost nutrients, flavor and moisture. You can use these ingredients to add extra flavor and act as a replacement for some of the butter or oil in the recipe.

Know! The Red Flags of Teen Depression

It’s December; tis the season to be jolly. That’s easier said than done for many people, adults and teens alike. All the hustle and bustle can worsen the symptoms of those who already suffer from anxiety and depression into. And for others, the holidays can create the perfect storm for the onset of symptoms.

Holiday parties, family gatherings, the overabundance of social media pics and posts, the loss of a loved one, divorce or other family separation, financial concerns, less sleep, indulging in unhealthy foods and drinks, are all contributing factors to people of all ages feeling overwhelmed, anxious and many times, depressed this time of the year.

For some teens, feeling depressed can cause them to withdraw and avoid social interactions, which oftentimes leads to further sadness and loneliness – a downward spiral that can easily spin out of control. These feelings, which may be more easily managed during other times of the year, may be intensified in the midst of the holiday season.

As parents and other caregivers of young people, it is vital to be aware of the many signs and symptoms of teen depression (according to HelpGuide: Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression):

·    Irritability, anger, or hostility

·    Sadness or hopelessness

·    Tearfulness or frequent crying

·    Withdrawal from friends and family

·    Loss of interest in activities

·    Poor school performance

·    Changes in eating and sleeping habits

·    Restlessness and agitation

·    Feelings of worthlessness and guilt

·    Lack of enthusiasm and motivation

·    Fatigue or lack of energy

·    Difficulty concentrating

·    Unexplained aches and pains

·    Thoughts of death or suicide

When considering the red flags for depression, it is important to know that they may look very different in young people versus adults.

Irritability, anger, or hostility: The predominant mood in a depressed teen is oftentimes irritability, as opposed to sadness. It is common for a depressed youth to be grumpy, hostile, easily frustrated, or prone to angry outbursts.

Unexplained aches and pains: When a physical exam turns up zero answers to your child’s chronic headaches, stomachaches and such, the cause may be due to depression.

Extreme sensitivity to criticism: It is common for young people who are depressed to experience feelings of worthlessness, which makes them even more vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and failure than their teenage peers.

Withdrawing from some, but not all people: Depressed teens typically maintain at least some friendships, while depressed adults tend to isolate themselves. Depressed youth, however, are known to socialize less, pull away from their parents, and start hanging out with a new crowd.

You are now aware of the many potential triggers of teen depression this time of the year. You are also aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for when it comes to youth who are depressed. Now it’s time to start up a conversation with your child, as communication is key.

How you communicate is as important as what you communicate. When talking with your child, focus on listening, not lecturing. Be gentle but persistent, knowing that it can be extremely difficult for a teen to express having feelings of sadness and depression. Acknowledge their feelings, even if it seems silly or irrational to you. In the end, trust your gut. If your child won’t open up to you, but you know there is something more going on, consider reaching out to a school counselor, teacher, or mental health professional. The essential piece is to get them talking.

Whether you question if there is a potential issue of depression or not, talking regularly with your son or daughter on topics such as this will help to build and foster a strong relationship between the two of you.

In the tip to follow, we will share information on how to help depressed teens navigate through the holiday season and beyond.




·    Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. HelpGuide: Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression. October 2019.

·    Jennifer Salerno, NP, Teen Depression and the Holidays. The Struggle is Real. October 2017.