Chris Van Horne, NBCDFW.com
Father is the the first snake bite victim to be hospitalized this season.
Snake season is in full swing thanks to the warmer weather the last few weeks.
Gabriel Flores, who was bit by a snake Saturday, is the first bite victim this year to be hospitalized.
He was bitten in the right hand late Saturday night at an Arlington apartment complex while trying to protect several nearby children. He said he thinks he got too close.
Flores has been at Texas Harris Health Methodist since Saturday night, after his hand, arm and shoulder swelled from the poisonous bite of a baby copperhead snake.
He said he's learned his lesson and will keep away from snakes from now on.
The first bite of the season came a few weeks earlier than last year, likely because of the warmer weather.
"Since the springs have been getting warm a little sooner and with it being very dry, it doesn't mean we have a higher snake population, it just may be they're out a little sooner with it being warmer," said Brent Fox, a clinical pharmacist at Harris and the hospital's resident snake expert.
Snake bite season runs from April through October, so to have a bite this early isn't rare.
Last year, Harris treated 17 people with various snake bites.
Doctors say they hope to reduce that number by spreading the word for people to be watchful where they walk and put their hands and to get to the hospital right away if they are bitten.
"The best treatment is anti-venom, and I think more people are understanding that and are seeking treatment earlier," Dr. David Smith said.
Even if you think a snake is not poisonous, it is best to go to the hospital before you starting displaying symptoms.