An Avengers: Endgame Screening May Have Exposed the Audience to Measles

Film Frame/Marvel Studios
Film Frame/Marvel Studios

For some members of an Avengers: Endgame audience in Fullerton, California last week, the danger wasn’t limited to what was happening onscreen. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, a woman recently infected with measles—but without measles symptoms—may have exposed the crowd to the virus.

Health officials in Orange County announced that the woman, who lives in Placentia, had contracted the disease while traveling overseas. Upon returning to California, she went to work and attended a midnight movie—likely a screening of Avengers: Endgame Thursday evening—before coming down with measles symptoms. As a result, officials are warning anyone who was at the AMC Theaters location on 1001 South Lemon Street in Fullerton from 11 p.m. April 25 to 4 a.m. April 26 to review their measles vaccine history and be mindful of possible symptoms, such as a measles rash. People in the vicinity of her workplace and the emergency department in Fullerton she visited are also being cautioned.

Measles causes fever, rash, coughing, and watery eyes, and can progress to more serious illnesses like pneumonia and pregnancy complications. The virus is transmitted through the air via coughing or sneezing and can linger for up to two hours.

This isn't California's first brush with the disease. Universities in the Los Angeles area have experienced an outbreak, with students and staff members told to remain home until their immunization records can be evaluated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 704 people have been diagnosed with measles nationwide this year, the worst year for the disease since 1994.

In 1989, the CDC recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine—which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella—when a child is between 12 and 15 months old and again between 4 to 6 years old. The vaccine is thought to provide a 97 percent chance of protection against measles. Prior to that, a single-dose vaccine was typical but it offered less protection. Adults born before 1957 were likely exposed to the virus as children and are considered immunized. People who were not vaccinated as a child, unsure of their status, or at high risk due to working in health care or traveling internationally can still receive an MMR shot. They should check with their physician.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

The Right Way to Clean Your Face Mask

Properly cleaning your face mask is important to keep it free of infectious material.
Properly cleaning your face mask is important to keep it free of infectious material.
mikography/iStock via Getty Images

In an effort to slow the transmission of coronavirus in public settings, health officials are advising that people unable to practice social distancing wear a cloth face mask. While not as effective at filtering respiratory droplets as medical-grade masks, cloth masks are still recommended as a practical preventative step.

Like all apparel, masks get dirty. They absorb sweat and germs, and they need to be cleaned. But how?

According to National Geographic, the best way to clean a cloth face mask is to take the same approach as the rest of your laundry—toss it in the washer. Laundry detergent is effective against coronavirus because the pathogen is encased in a layer of oily lipids and proteins. Detergents and hand soaps contain surfactants, which reduce the surface tension of the fatty layer. The surfactant molecule is attracted to oil and grease on one end and water on the other. The end that disrupts the oil bursts the coronavirus envelope apart. Tiny pods of surfactant called micelles trap and wash the remnants away. It’s this activity, not the water temperature, that kills the virus, though using a higher dryer temperature can destroy most microorganisms that might be lingering.

Bear in mind there’s a recommended way to take off your mask. Make sure your hands are clean, then pull it off using the straps behind your ears. This avoids contaminating the mask—and your face—with any pathogens that might be on your hands.

Medical-grade masks are trickier, as they’re intended to be used only once and can’t stand up to a wash cycle. If you have an N95 or paper mask, you can set it aside for several days, at which point the virus is likely to become inactive. But keep in mind that health officials still aren’t entirely sure how long coronavirus can persist on surfaces, and it’s possible for a mask to collect particles over time, increasing the viral load.

But what about the rest of your clothes? Experts say not to worry so much about disrobing the minute you get home. The coronavirus likes moisture and dries out quickly on fabrics. You need to be careful with the material covering your face, but the rest of your outfit can wait until your regularly scheduled laundry appointment.

[h/t National Geographic]