Rattlesnake Safety in the Regional Parks

A reminder from the East Bay Regional Park District that Spring and Summer are active snake seasons in parks and open spaces.    Park District staff advises that as the weather heats up, rattlesnakes especially become more active. They, like humans, like to explore when the weather gets warm.  Snakes are able to regulate their body temperature by moving in and out of shade. A warmer body allows a snake to move faster when trying to catch prey. Depending upon the kind of snake, they eat insects, slugs, frogs, birds, bird eggs, small mammals, and other reptiles.

Several kinds of snakes live in the Bay Area. Most snakes are harmless to humans and pets, but any snake will bite in self-defense. Because a rattlesnake bite is poisonous, it is considered a medical emergency: call 9-1-1.

Within the past week, the Park District staff has received six reports of rattlesnake sightings, including today when a 47 year old male who was bitten by a rattlesnake this afternoon near the top of Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont.  The victim was taken by helicopter to the hospital and is recovering.  Over the weekend a pet dog was bitten by a rattlesnake at Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore on the Arroyo side along the trail.  A park ranger assisted the owner to his car so the dog could be taken to his vet.   Additional rattlesnake sightings were reported at Castlerock Regional Recreation Area in Walnut Creek in a picnic area, on the Delta DeAnza Regional Trail in Pittsburg as well as in the parking lot outside of EBRPD Police Headquarters at Lake Chabot Regional Park.   No snake bites were  reported with those incidents.

Park staff urges taking snake safety precautions when visiting regional parks especially at this time of year.   A Common Snakes brochure is available and may be downloaded from the Park District’s website,  Search for “common snakes.”

Some safety tips when visiting Regional Parks:
Always hike with a friend so you can help each other in case of emergency.
Look at the ground ahead of you as you are walking. 
Look carefully around and under logs and rocks before sitting down.
Avoid placing your hands or feet where you can’t see clearly. 
Check the immediate area around picnic tables, campsites, and barbecues before using them or camp area.  If you encounter a rattlesnake in these areas, notify park staff.  Do not disturb it. Stay calm.  Give it plenty of room and leave it alone.
Also bring plenty of water for yourself and your pets as many parks do not have direct water supply.  
Keep pets on the designated trails and away from snakes if they see one.  

Learn to recognize a rattlesnake.
Rattlesnakes have a triangular head, much wider than the neck, thick body with dull skin, black and white bands on tail, blunt rattle at tip. May or may not shake rattle in warning. Rattle sounds like bacon sizzling.
Contrast to a gopher snake, which is not venomous.  A gopher snake’s head is narrow, and only slightly larger than the head. The body is slender and usually shiny. The tail is pointed.

If you see a rattlesnake on a trail:
Leave it alone. Do not try to capture or harm it. All park wildlife is protected by law.  Wait for it to cross and do not approach.  Then move carefully and slowly away.

What to Do if Bitten by a Snake:
If bitten by a rattlesnake, stay calm and send someone to Call 911. The victim should remain calm by lying down with the affected limb lower than the heart. Do not waste precious time on tourniquets, “cutting and sucking,” or snake bite kits. If you are by yourself, walk calmly to the nearest source of help: another person, a park employee, or a phone to Dial 911. Do Not Run. 

If bitten by any other kind of snake, leave the snake alone. Wash the wound with soap and water or an antiseptic and seek medical attention.

 If you are not sure what kind of snake bit you, check the bite for two puncture marks (in rare cases one puncture mark) associated with intense, burning pain. This is typical of a rattle snake bite. Other snakebites may leave multiple teeth marks without associated burning pain.
While snake sightings are common in the regional parks, it is generally a rare occurrence to be bitten by one.  But it does happen, so please be aware of your surroundings while enjoying the parks.  

Snakes are an important resource in the natural environment. They are prime controlling agents of rodent, insect, and other reptile populations. They must be enjoyed from afar and left where they are found. It is illegal to collect, kill, or remove any plants or animals from the East Bay Regional Park District.   Please help us to protect wildlife and their environment for present and future generations.

One third of U.S. millennials live with and rely on parents: survey

WASHINGTON –Around one third of all U.S. millennials live with and rely financially on their parents, putting off adulthood milestones like marriage, having a child and home-buying, according to a new report from U.S. Census Bureau on Monday.
That's a shift from four decades ago, when more Americans viewed marriage and child-rearing as gateways to adulthood, U.S. Census Bureau demographer Jonathan Vespa says.
Among younger Americans, women are much more likely to attain a college degree and a full-time job nowadays than they were in 1976.
Meanwhile, young men are only slightly more likely to have attained a higher education and slightly less likely to be employed, the report says.
The number of young Americans living independently of their parents stands at 40.7 percent, down more than 10 percentage points from a decade ago, according to the report
Today, more people between the ages of 18 and 34 live with their parents, 22.9 million, than live with a spouse, 19.9 million. In 1975, more than twice as many people in the same age group lived with a spouse (31.9 million) than with their parents (14.7 million).
Home ownership rates have plummeted, too: In 1975, almost 52 percent of those between 25 and 34 owned their own home. Today, just 28.8 percent do.
The percentage of both men and women who marry at a young age has fallen precipitously in recent years: In 1976, 85 percent of women and 75 percent of men had been married by age 29. Today, only 46 percent of women and 32 percent of men said they were married before they turned 30.
Overall, the number of men and women marrying by older ages has remained virtually unchanged. That shows the average American's chances of getting married remain almost the same, though their chances of marrying while young are dramatically smaller.
"Young adults are not necessarily giving up on marriage. They are waiting longer," Vespa wrote.
Data from the 2012 General Social Survey shows 62 percent of Americans believe completing formal schooling is an extremely important experience necessary to become an adult, and 50 percent say the same about landing a full-time job.
Only 12 percent say getting married is an extremely important step toward becoming an adult, and 10 percent say that about having a child, according to the report. (PNA-Xinhua)

Aussie scientists use blood bank to develop diabetes ‘vaccine’

SYDNEY -- Australian scientists are optimistic that a bank of blood donations will help them develop a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes.
The team from the St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research became the first researchers in the world to observe immune cells destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
They discovered that the immune cells targeted the C-peptide molecule and are now developing a blood test to measure the immune response to the molecule, which they believe causes type 1 diabetes.
Stuart Mannering, an immunologist at St Vincent's, said the team was hopeful of developing a therapy that would teach the immune system not to attack the cells.
"That's our long term goal," Mannering told News Limited on Wednesday.
"The next step towards this is to measure that immune response in blood samples so we can try to detect it before people develop symptoms of Type 1 diabetes."
"What we would really like is a blood test that we can do after a much shorter period of time so that we can see if the immune response is going in the direction we want it."
The test will be developed using samples from a biobank, a list of people willing to give blood samples for the sake of medical research.
"The living biobank is really essential because it allows us to do this study using human blood from people with and without diabetes and that's a really critical stepping stone... to more human-based studies so we can develop something that will be useful in the clinic," Mannering said.
The team received the Diabetes Australia 2017 Millennium Award on Wednesday which comes with a grant worth $100,000. -- PNA/Xinhua

WHO congratulates PH for 1.1-M decline in number of smokers

MANILA -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the country’s leadership in promoting significant interventions leading to a dramatic decline in the number of smokers from 2009 to 2015.
"The decrease in tobacco use that we've seen herein the Philippines for the last years is truly remarkable, also from a global perspective," WHO country representative, Dr. Gundo Weiler, has said.
Weiler was referring to the 2015 Global Adult TobaccoSurvey (GATS) report, which showed a 1.1 million drop in the number of smokers in the country from 17 million in 2009 to 15.9 million in 2015.
The GATS Survey is used to monitor adult tobacco use and track key tobacco control indicators across countries. In the Philippines,the survey was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine StatisticsAuthority, with technical assistance provided by the US Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC) and WHO, among others. The analysis and writing of the report was funded by the Department of Health.
Weiler noted that with the nearly 20 percent reduction in the number of smokers, the Philippines has achieved the level of international practices.
"You see such a dramatic change. Change can only be brought about based on a very strong political commitment," the WHO official said in an interview.
Weiler said the current administration’s sound leadership, as demonstrated by President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City when he was still mayor, and the long-time advocacy of Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial, has contributed a lot to the reduction.
He also cited the other factors that led to the reduction, among them the implementation of the Tobacco Reform Law in 2012 or the "anti-cancer tax" as stipulated in Republic Act 10351; the implementation of the Graphic Health Warning in cigarette packs; and the creation of anti-smoking ordinances by local governments.
Weiler expressed hope that these interventions would be further strengthened by the much-awaited Executive Order on a smoke-freePhilippines that is expected to be signed by the President soon.
Noting that some 87,000 Filipinos die of smoking-related illnesses every year, he said these interventions are needed to protect the youth and children, from whom would come the next generation of smokers.
"While this is truly a great achievement, we need to redouble our efforts and intensify the interventions that have proven to be effective,” he said.
He assured that the WHO will continue to support thePhilippine government to reduce the morbidity and mortality linked to tobacco use among Filipinos. -- PNA

Free: Seton knee pain seminar


DALY CITY – Adults throughout the Bay Area are invited to join Dr. John H. Velyvis for a free seminar to learn about the causes and current treatments for knee pain. The seminar will be held at the Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel located at 625 El Camino Real in Palo Alto on March 30, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The talk will include a special introduction to robotic-assisted total knee replacement using the NAVIO™ Surgical System — currently only available in the Bay Area at Seton Medical Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask Dr. Velyvis their own questions.
Dr. Velyvis is Seton Medical Center’s Medical Director of Robotic Orthopedic Surgery. One of the most experienced orthopedic surgeons on the West Coast and an expert in robotic- assisted knee surgery,

Dr. Velyvis studied biomedical engineering at Harvard University and received his medical degree from Columbia University in New York.
Seating is limited. Register today by calling 650-257-2997. Free valet parking, as well as snacks and light refreshments, will be available.
For more information, please visit
Founded in 1893, Seton Medical Center is a 357-bed hospital serving 1.5 million residents of San Francisco and northern San Mateo County with comprehensive inpatient and outpatient medical specialties, as well as emergency and urgent care services. Its sister facility, Seton Coastside, is a 116-bed skilled nursing complex offering inpatient care and the only 24-hour standby Emergency Department on the Pacific Coast between Daly City and Santa Cruz.

DOH to revisit Magna Carta for public health workers

MANILA --Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial has directed her department to revisit and amend the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers.
In a press briefing held at the Department of Health (DOH) media relations unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila, Ubial said the move aims to reinforce the benefits and provide security to health workers, particularly those deployed in Geographically Isolated and Depressed Areas (GIDA) and localities that are prone to violence.
Noting that the Magna Carta requires revisions, the health chief pointed out that although there is a provision on hardship allowance, hazard pay and overtime pay, there is no specific provision on safety.

"However, not all of those provisions are actually provided uniformly across the country. So, while some LGUs (local government units) provide the benefits, others do not," she said, stressing that like the military, health workers are exposed to various risks and thus need protection.
"They risk their lives in the line of duty while saving the lives of others. The service that they give is matchless and invaluable. Let not the life and death of Dr. (Dreyfuss) Perlas be forgotten and put to waste. We rally together with all health workers to continue the fight for better working conditions,” Ubial said.
She recounted that when she was deployed to Cotabato City, the LGU gave them security training, such as what to do when there are bombings.
Health workers could be trained on the use of firearms and handheld radios for their security, she said.
Meanwhile, the death of Perlas, who served two years under the DOH Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program, prompted his fellow barrio doctors to hold the Black Monday protest to demand justice and call attention to the needs of front-line health workers facing their daily battles of difficult working conditions, denial of legal benefits and other entitlements, harassment and acts of violence.
Masses were held across the country on Sunday, offering prayers for Perlas and honoring his example as a service-oriented and altruistic physician for the people of Mindanao.
Perlas was shot dead in Sapad, Lanao del Norte last March 1. Police have yet to identify his assailant. (PNA)

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