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Filtering by Category: Safety

Why can't we wear open-toed shoes at the worksite?

Mission Lazarus

Sure, there's a few reasons.  We don't want your toes smashed on a construction site, or exposed in a clinical setting.  And even if you're working in another setting, the ground is often uneven and unpaved, and unprotected toes are exposed to soil that can transfer both parasitic and fungal infections through the skin.  

Now, when you're not on the work site, feel free to switch into flip flops or sandals and let your toes breathe at the hotel! 

Why do you require evacuation coverage?

Mission Lazarus

We do everything we can to mitigate your risks while you volunteer with us, but we require MedJet Assist because medical emergencies happen.  We have a long-standing relationship with this company and have air-evacuated two volunteers in the lifetime of our organization within hours with a single phone call.

Additionally, Medjet membership allows the protected member to be transported back to a home country hospital of his/her choice and does not require the illness/injury to be such that a transport is medically-necessary. As such, Medjet empowers the member to choose where he wants to to receive care as long as he/she is stable for flight and a doctor will admit them at the receiving hospital. (For example, a qualifying injury could be a compound fracture that requires a surgical procedure – something that perhaps “could” be performed in-country (Honduras or Haiti) but the Medjet member prefers to have the procedure done in the U.S.

Another awesome advantage is that Medjet has no dollar caps on air medical transport services. There is zero out of pocket for Medjet transport cases that can easily be above $50,000 – the cap for many other air travel coverage companies.

Lastly, Medjet has no health questions, deductibles, co-payments or claim forms; it does not subrogate for other possible insurance, and Medjet has no adventure travel restrictions.

Can I drive the rental truck?

Mission Lazarus

If we can not provide one of our drivers for a vehicle, volunteers with a valid U.S. driver's license above 28 years of age may drive a rental vehicle, provided they have ample experience driving a manual transmission vehicle.

Uh oh, what if the police stop me for some reason?

Mission Lazarus

Please do not engage with local law officials (customs, immigration, police, etc) in the event of a routine traffic stop or collision. Mission Lazarus staff will respond to determine what the official is requesting and whether or not the request is justified. Mission Lazarus does not pay bribes under any circumstance and must protect its reputation in the community. Respect for government is a mandate of Jesus Christ.

What vaccinations should I take?

Mission Lazarus

The following recommendations are in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control:  

Routine (Boosters)

Routine vaccinations that have not been administered within the last 5 years should be applied to prevent disease in case of exposure. This includes MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus), and Poliovirus vaccine.

Hepatitis A

Two doses of the vaccine administered 6 months apart prior to travel is ideal. One dose prior to travel and second dose upon return is also acceptable.

Hepatitis B

Three doses of the vaccine administered at 0, 1, and 6 months is ideal. Two doses prior to travel and final dose upon routine is also acceptable.


Two options exist. One is an oral formulation that confers 5 years of protection. The second is an injection which confers 2 years of protection.


Optional. Three doses of the vaccine administered at 0, 7, and 21 days is ideal.

Travel vaccinations can be obtained through your primary care provider, the public health department, or any number of private travel clinics around the U.S.

Do I have to take medicine to prevent malaria?

Mission Lazarus

We can't force you, but it's a good idea.  The Center for Disease Control recommends chemoprophylaxis with any of the following agents: atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine.  The most commonly prescribed agent for Central America is Chloroquine phosphate 500 mg orally, once/week.

Medication instructions for adults:  Take 500mg once a week, beginning 1-2 weeks before travel, in the evening, with food. Take weekly on the same day of the week while in the malarious area and for 4 weeks after leaving such areas.

Common side effects include diarrhea, blurred vision, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, stomach irritation, strange dreams.  Chloroquine can exacerbate psoriasis, so considering another agent may be appropriate if you have this skin condition.  If choosing Doxycycline, just know that your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight.  

A prescription for Chloroquine can be obtained through your primary care provider or any number of private travel clinics around the U.S.

Yikes, what about Zika?

Mission Lazarus

We value that you are volunteering your time with us and want to protect you while with us.  Zika is similar to Dengue or Chikungunya; all three are viruses carried by mosquitoes with fairly similar symptoms and treatments:  

If you were to be infected with Zika, you may not exhibit any symptoms at all (most people infected with Zika do not even get clinically ill, as a healthy immune system clears the virus quickly) but for those who get clinically ill, you would experience mild fever, an angry skin rash, headache, conjunctivitis, and malaise within a few days of initial infection.  You would feel generically “not well.”  These symptoms could last 2-7 days, and there is no treatment other than symptom management, so - rest, hydration, and tylenol for discomfort.

What you need to know is:  how can I prevent getting Zika, and if I get Zika, how do I keep from spreading it to others?  So, the precautions are the same as they are for Chikungunya, Malaria and Dengue.... you want to avoid mosquito bites by wearing bug spray with DEET, and also by minimizing skin exposure (so, I'd wear pants and a light long sleeve shirt, versus short sleeves and skirts or capris.)  These mosquitoes are daytime biters so a mosquito net for night time is unnecessary to prevent Zika. 

The only travel advisory made currently by the CDC to travelers to Honduras or Haiti (or other parts of Central and South America) is to take precautions to avoid getting mosquito bites, and recommends special precautions for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant: not to travel to any area below 6,500 feet.  (Because the type of mosquito that carries Zika does not live at high elevation.) 

The World Health Organization is slightly more conservative in that it recommends that pregnant women not travel to an endemic area due to an association of congenital disorders such as microcephaly when pregnant women become infected. 

Any couple who hopes to become pregnant should wait 6 months after either partner returns from Honduras or Haiti, as some studies have shown the presence of Zika in semen for up to 6 months after return from travel. 

I think it’s worth noting that we as news consumers allow media hysteria to cause us distress on nearly a daily basis.  Zika virus is not new; it has been around since the 1950s.  If we were to compare Zika to malaria, we can see that both are carried by mosquitos and are endemic to the tropics, but what is dissimilar is the death toll.  As Dr. Nicholis Comninellis points out in his blog

“ Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly African children under five years of age, and some 300-600 million people suffer from often serious malaria illness each year. What’s more, the risk of miscarriage among pregnant women with malaria increases five-fold.  By contrast, human death from Zika has yet to be confirmed, and the connection with congenital disorders is less than substantiated…. We in the United States are essentially allowing media hype to set public policy: Our president, congress, and health agencies are suddenly pressing massive resources, $1.3 billion, against the Zika’s potential for dissemination, while US government funding for malaria intervention remains flat at $600 million.  What does this say about our rationale and priorities? What will we say to the families of the 3,000 people who died today from malaria? What will be our words to the infected mothers whose babies were lost in pregnancy? And to those tens of thousands, who at this moment are vomiting and convulsing from malaria, what will be our explanation over not devoting at least parallel resources to their needs?”

So basically, you don't need to prepare differently for your trip to Central America.  The same precautions travelers depend on to feel safe in areas endemic to malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya will keep you relatively safe from Zika.  Avoid mosquitoes.  Befriend the gecko that cheeps in the night from the corner of your cabin.  We’ll see you soon!