ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - A father, his son and their dog are all still recovering after being attacked by hundreds of wasps in Altamonte Springs last week.
On Tuesday, the family shared a photo exclusively with Local 6 of Jordan Alvarez, 7, from the hospital. It shows red, swollen bites all over his body. Jordan Alvarez is doing well and his family is hopeful he may even be released from the hospital as soon as Wednesday. His father, David Alvarez, is worst off, still in the Intensive Care Unit at Florida Hospital Altamonte.
"Very hectic week and it's up and down. He's good, no he's not good. Yes, he's coming out of the intensive care, no he's not coming out of the intensive care, and that's how it's been," said Maggie Ramia, David Alvarez's Aunt.
David Alvarez's wife, Jennifer, told Local 6 her husbands lungs are not strong enough to work on their own, so he is using a breathing tube and still unconscious. Earlier in the week, David Alvarez developed pneumonia and a blood clot. His wife said he is still very swollen and having trouble breathing while his body tries to fight the toxins.
David Alvarez, Jordan Alvarez and their dog China were walking in a wooded area behind some homes along the Little Wekiva River last Wednesday evening when one of them disturbed thousands of yellow jackets in a nest underground by unknowingly stepping on it.
China, a 4-year-old Shiba Inu, was also stung 30 times. The vet told the family it's a miracle she is now recovering. The dog ran from the scene after the attack and Ramia found her walking down the street, swollen, her tongue hanging out and one eye shut.
"She said if we would've waited another day, or few more hours, he would've died because he was having liver failure," said Ramia.
The family is also balancing care for David Alvarez's sick grandmother, his 9-month-old daughter, the dog and going back and forth between Florida Hospital Altamonte to visit David and Florida Hospital in Orlando for Jordan.
"It's not easy. It's really hard and sometimes we think we can't go anymore and we get down on our knees and we break down. We pray and we go on. It's just the way it is, you know, we have to deal with it the best we can. And we do have strong support, my family, and that's how we've been going through this," said Ramia.
A close friend of Jennifer's has stepped up and created a GoFundMe page to help raise money to eventually help the family get through this.
"I'm a mom myself and if something like this happened, I would want people to help us. She's not going to be able to work right now. Obviously her husband is not working. I mean, that's crippling in a matter of days for people, so I'm hoping everyone can pitch in and help her out a little bit," said Carey Schreier, who knows Jennifer through a mom group.
Click here if you'd like to donate to the family.
Dr. Paramita Ghosh with Physician Associates, says the father is most likely experiencing symptoms of anaphylactic shock.
"All your body organs start failing- you will have clots in the body- you will have lungs which are filled with fluid, the liver fails, the kidney is filled with toxins," she said.
Dr. Ghosh recommends parents and their children take an allergy blood test, especially if they plan on spending a lot of time outdoors this summer.
Even if you're not allergic, she says it's important to get an EpiPen, which releases a single dose of epinephrine.
"Being in Florida, I think it's a very good idea to keep it at all times - I always keep it in my purse and I mean, I've never been tested but I know that it's good to have it," she said.
Experts say if you do step on a nest, try to remain calm and walk away slowly. Also, cover your face to protect sensitive areas. Wasps can be attracted to hairspray, perfume and bright clothing, so it's best to avoid these in wooded areas, according to experts.
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