Attention One Tree Hill fans: the actor who played Peyton Sawyer has a job for you. On Sunday, Hilarie Burton revealed she's making masks for healthcare workers with help from her 10-year-old son Gus. The actor shared a few posts on Instagram, explaining the need for reusable masks on the frontline of the new coronavirus pandemic, and the easy tutorial that she's following to construct masks out of reusable shopping bags.
Hospitals are facing shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across the United States. This is leaving some healthcare workers with no choice but to reuse single-use items, making them more vulnerable to spreading or contracting COVID-19, per The New York Times. While civilians can't make the much-needed N95 masks, they can craft washable masks to be worn over the N95s to potentially make them last longer, per Vox.
"What are y'all up to? Just sitting around? Fantastic," Burton captioned her first post. "Got a project for you. These fabric masks can be worn over n95 hospital masks — the ones our healthcare workers are being asked to reuse. The fabric masks can be washed and sanitized."
In her caption, the actor noted that these masks aren't ideal, but they are better than bandanas and scarves — both of which are being fashioned into makeshift masks by healthcare workers, and essential workers like pharmacists and grocery store workers. According to the CDC's official website, homemade masks are a last resort, and not considered PPE since they are not proven to protect against COVID-19. "Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face," the website reads. That said, healthcare professionals have reached out on social media asking for people to make masks for donation, according to Forbes.
Burton also noted that if your local hospital isn't accepting donations, your local drug store might want these masks in order to keep their workers safe.
For people looking for a way to contribute, the OTH actor has offered up an easy to execute plan of action. In her posts, she linked to the tutorial she's using so that others can help too. Created by Bonnie Lewis, the tutorial notes that masks can be made out of "non-woven PP shopping bags, tightly woven cotton blend, or anti-microbial pillow cases." In her own video, Burton pointed out that "you can use every single part" of the reusable bags, including constructing a tie if you don't have access to elastic.
On Monday, she posted two more updates, including one that breaks down the step-by-step construction of the masks in photo form. "Back at it!" Burton captioned a video of her sewing. "Washed, traced and cut 92 panels yesterday for face masks to give to our community's healthcare and emergency professionals. Each mask gets two panels. Sewing today, with Gus's help."
If you plan on making masks, it's a good idea to call hospitals or stores to offer the items before leaving your home unnecessarily, and to arrange a drop-off time that minimizes exposure to others. And if you're not confident in your sewing abilities, Burton suggested donating your bags to a seasoned sewer (again while minding social distancing rules).
"There are so many people putting their life on the line to take care of us, so if we're just sitting around let's make them some masks," Burton said.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.