Archive for February, 2012

Department of Health and Senior Services: Reminds Residents to Take Precautions to Avoid Norovirus Infection

Thursday, February 16th, 2012
DHSS Reminds Residents to Take Precautions to Avoid Norovirus Infections

As expected, New Jersey is experiencing an increase in norovirus outbreaks and DHSS reminds residents to take precautions to protect their health. Colds and flu are not the only infections that thrive in the winter. Norovirus – sometimes called the stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis, or food poisoning – also likes the colder weather. 

“The best way to avoid the norovirus is to wash your hands often using soap and water,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. “Alcohol-based hand cleansers are not effective against this virus.”

Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness, which begins suddenly and usually causes stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may also experience low-grade fever, chills, headache, body aches and fatigue. Most people recover quickly, but serious complications can occur – particularly in those with other medical conditions.  Those infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin to feel sick until as long as two weeks after recovery.

There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection and there is no drug to treat it. The best way to reduce the risk of getting norovirus is to:

  • Practice good hand hygiene.  Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and changing diapers. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are not effective against norovirus.
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables and cook oysters and other shellfish before eating.
  • Do not prepare food while infected or while you have symptoms of norovirus. Foodhandlers should wait 3 days after they recover from their illness before returning to work.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.  After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean surfaces by using bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label or a diluted bleach solution (5-25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water). Never use undiluted bleach.
  • Remove and wash clothing and linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool.  Handle soiled items carefully to avoid spreading the virus. If available, wear rubber, disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. Items should be washed with detergent at the maximum cycle length and machine dried.
  • Report all outbreaks to the local health department.

Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the US. It is estimated that each year, more than 20 million cases of gastroenteritis are caused by norovirus. That means that 1 in every 15 Americans will become ill from norovirus each year.  In New Jersey, approximately 100 norovirus outbreaks are reported to the health department each year.

Noroviruses can spread quickly from person to person in crowded, closed places like long-term care facilities, daycare centers, schools, hotels, summer camps, hospitals, family dinners, student housing, restaurants, and cruise ships. In other words, places where people often eat food that is prepared or handled by others. 

There have recently been norovirus outbreaks on the campuses of Princeton University and Rider University. Both universities have been very cooperative with local and county health officials in taking steps to prevent further transmission by sanitizing and educating students and staff about frequent handwashing.

Noroviruses are found in the stool and vomit of infected people. People can become infected by:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus.
  • Touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated with norovirus, and then placing your hand in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with an infected person; for example, by exposure to the virus when caring for or when sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils with an infected person.



Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes-is there one in your program?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Deadline: April 30

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Their leadership and courage make them true heroes — and inspirations to us all.

Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 inspiring young people nationwide. Half of the winners have focused on helping their communities and fellow beings; half have focused on protecting the health and sustainability of the environment.
These young people reflect the great diversity of America. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from many backgrounds. Examples are Michaella, who organized a rodeo for disabled kids; Carter, who led the effort to conserve a local river; Ashley, who created a scholarship fund for African girls; Kyle, who organized a reading mentorship program; Joying, who cleaned up South Carolina’s beaches; Ryan, who helped provide clean drinking water to more than 70 African villages; and Barbara, who created a successful oil recycling project in Texas.
The goal of the Barron Prize is to celebrate such heroic young people — and to inspire others to do their part. Like the woman for whom the prize was named — my mother, Gloria Barron — these young people demonstrate the power of one person to make a difference to the world. If you know of a young hero who meets all of the criteria for the prize, please nominate him or her on our website at


Harvard University’s Free Food & Fun After School Curriculum

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Harvard University’s Free Food & Fun After School Curriculum

If you are looking for ways to incorporate healthy eating habits and physical education into your afterschool or summer program, the Food & Fun After School curriculum may be right for you. The Harvard School of Public Health’s Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity developed Food & Fun After School to assist program staff in helping to build healthy habits in children during out-of-school time and are designed to be integrated into a program’s regular schedule.
The materials are provided free of charge .

The curriculum is made up of 11 units with focuses ranging from “Fruits and Vegetable – Take a Bite!” to “Reduce TV Viewing – Tune Out the TV!”.
Each unit includes arts and crafts ideas, active games, and snack ideas with recipes, as well as instruction and worksheets for carrying out the activities.
The units are designed to be stand-alone and can be used in any sequence. In addition, the curriculum goes beyond the afterschool program, by providing parent communications for each unit in both English and Spanish, so the healthy behaviors learned can be carried into the home environment.
Take a look at the interactive Food & Fun website at to view videos on the curriculum and find simple summaries of the different units.


Help Us Feed Kids During the Summer

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Help Us Feed Kids During the Summer  

Join the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to learn more about how you can help feed children next summer and hear the benefits to being a part of the Summer Food Service Program!

USDA FNS 2012 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Introductory Webinar

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program can help to fill the summer meal gap for low-income children.  Faith-based, community and private non-profit organizations can make a difference in the lives of hungry children by serving meals with SFSP, a federally funded program administered by states that reimburses organizations for meals served to children during the summer. USDA FNS will be providing webinar sessions, including an overview of the SFSP, resources and tools available to help get started with the SFSP, successful outreach practices and tips, and how to get involved.


Session Description: This webinar session is designed to provide a high level overview of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).  Following the overview of the SFSP, the session will cover resources and tools available to help get started with the SFSP, successful outreach practices and tips, next steps and how to get involved, and then the session will open for questions and answers with USDA FNS staff.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012: 2:00pm – 3:00pm Eastern Time

Especially for: Latino Serving Organizations
Wednesday, February 29, 2012: 2:00pm – 3:00pm Eastern Time

Especially for: Faith-Based Organizations
Registration Link:

Additional sessions:
Thursday, 2/23/12, 3:00pm – 4:00pm EST – Public Session
Thursday, 3/8/12, 3:00pm – 4:00pm EST – Public Session
Tuesday, 3/13/12, 11:00am – 12:00pm EST – Public Session
Wednesday, 3/21/12, 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST – Public Session
Tuesday, 3/27/12, 4:00pm – 5:00pm EST – Public Session


Resource to Help Educate Kids About Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

From our colleagues at Children’s Specialized , a new resource .

“Friends Like You. Friends Like Me.” is community-outreach initiative designed to help educate children about autism spectrum disorder and provide the tools necessary to facilitate friendships among children.
This program encourages recognition of children’s similarities, reinforces the common desire to be accepted and have friends, demystifies autism in an age-appropriate manner, and promotes inclusion, respect, and friendship between children of all abilities.

As part of this program, we have created a film which illustrates ways to work with children to educate them about autism spectrum disorder.
School administrators, students, and professionals share ideas and strategies to facilitate positive peer relationships and friendship development.
The film offers strategies and resources to encourage interactions and friendships in school environments as well as in the general community.
In addition we have provided free, downloadable supportive materials that can assist you in your efforts. The film is intended to be used as a train-the-trainer model so schools, recreational programs, sports teams or any organization working with kids can adapt the material to train their own participants.

All materials are available at CLICK HERE TO ACCESS ALL FREE MATERIALS
After you have had the chance to review them, I’d love to hear what you think.
Feel free to send me an e-mail and to share the link with others who may find these resources valuable.

Thank you.

Adrienne P. Robertiello
Autism Educator
Children’s Specialized Hospital
150 New Providence Road
Mountainside, NJ  07092

(908) 233-3720   ext. 5343

This program has been made possible by the Kohl’s  KidsAbilities  program at Children’s Specialized Hospital through the generosity of Kohl’s Cares.