N95 Fit Tests
Michelle FINALLY finds an N95 that fits! (Halyard Fluidshield Surgical N95)
FDA Cleared – Follow your IFU’s
Supply and Demand
The Halyard Supply Chain
Buy American Made
Michelle Strange: A Tale of Two Hygienists presents this week’s TIPisode: quick and easy tips to keep you up to date and presented by the experts in the profession. Now, get ready for your unofficial TIPisode.
Hello there. Ah, what a treasure we’re bringing to you today.
Andrew Johnston: Mm-hmm.
Michelle Strange: Andrew and I are going to do a TIPisode together!
Andrew Johnston: Hey, hey. Hooray! I mean, is that a treasure? Or is it going to be hurtful for people’s ears to listen to both of us on a podcast again?
Michelle Strange: It’s been a minute. But I’m very excited about this TIPisode because we’re partnering with Halyard, and I’m really happy that we get to tell everybody about a company who makes products that are living on their face every day.
Andrew Johnston: Yeah. Well, I think it’s funny also because, you know, you see Halyard, and you think of them in a different direction than what we’re going to go in today. You think of gloves, right? Like, I always — I mean, Halyard’s been my glove company for so long, but that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.
Michelle Strange: Yeah. We’re not going to talk about it even though they make one of my favorite gloves. We won’t get into that. We’re going to talk and chat about some supply chain management. But, also, I would like to kick it off talking about their N95 if I may?
Andrew Johnston: Uh, please do. I think this is — I mean, it’s a hot topic, obviously. It has been for many years. But now it’s such a mandatory thing.
Michelle Strange: Right. In 2020, we all got real comfortable with some N95s.
Andrew Johnston: [Laughing].
Michelle Strange: We all probably learned, uh, about a fit test — uh, what?
Andrew Johnston: I — well, I just can’t let it pass. I mean, you said we all “got comfortable with an N — ” I don’t think almost anybody was comfortable having to wear an N95 [sic].
Michelle Strange: [Laughing]. That’s definitely very subjective, right? [Laughing].
Andrew Johnston: Right. Exactly.
Michelle Strange: Well, that actually is a great way to go into this because I don’t necessarily personally — this is just me — don’t have a problem with breathing in an N95.
I have these giant cheek bones, and it’s, like, a pressure thing for me, and it’s an anatomy thing. Like, the bridge of my nose I feel like isn’t long enough for something to pinch in the right spot that it doesn’t occlude my nasal tissue but then also I can wear loupes. Like, it’s a whole thing, right? It is not —
Andrew Johnston: — Yeah. Your face dimensions are kind of a little bit eh.
Michelle Strange: They’re a little wonky. [Laughing].
Andrew Johnston: A little bit wonky.
Michelle Strange: [Laughing]. I have weird ear holes too if anybody wants to know that, but. [Laughing].
Andrew Johnston: [Laughing].
Michelle Strange: But my face is a little wonky. So I had — I — and I was kind of a mask snob before 2020.
Andrew Johnston: Mm-hmm.
Michelle Strange: So looking at N95s, I don’t know. I didn’t think it would be that hard, and it really was hard for me. I failed all of my N95 fit tests.
Andrew Johnston: Wow. Wow.
Michelle Strange: And, if anybody failed their fit test and had to taste, like, the bitters that go — [gagging].
Andrew Johnston: Can — just for a quick second. For those of you who are not compliant — or maybe this — I don’t know. Like, people who have never done a fit test, um, my fit test maybe was a little bit different than what your fit test. Mine was a smoke one. Can you smell this?
Michelle Strange: Oh, yeah. They come in — yeah. They do have different ones out there. There’s the smoke, and then the bitters that get kind of pumped into it. I actually got certified to give fit tests after a while because we were all, like, in desperate need [laughing] of fit tests.
Andrew Johnston: And they’re like, “Michelle, this never works for you. Why don’t you just do your own? So please go get certified.”
Michelle Strange: Yes. [Laughing].
Andrew Johnston: “Do it on your own time. Don’t waste all of our time.”
Michelle Strange: Yeah. Exactly. [Laughing].
Andrew Johnston: Yeah. Of course.
Michelle Strange: [Laughing]. Exactly.
Well, we — um, actually I had a conversation — I reached out to a bunch of manufacturers. And that’s the upside of being who we are. We have some access to manufacturers. And I was like, “Can a girl get an N95 that’s small?” Like, I understand that the supply chain is crazy right now. It’s so hard to find. But I am — I don’t even know what to do at this point. I cannot do aerosol generating procedures — and this was obviously back in June and July and August time — and I’m like, ugh.
So I got this Halyard mask. This is the Fluidshield Surgical N95, and it was one of the very few that fit my face, that passed the fit test. And, because I have that weird feeling of I don’t want the pressure on my face so much and I have a very specific spot where the mask needs to sit on the bridge of my nose so I’m not going to be mouth breathing the whole time — because that’s a whole other world — I — this one worked for me. So I was really super excited to find it. You can definitely find out more if you head over to their website. But it is the Halyard Fluidshield Surgical N95 mask.
This is NIOSH approved to filter out at least 95 percent of very small particles including bacteria and viruses, and it’s FDA cleared and is a Class II medical device. And I just want to give a friendly reminder to the world that when they are FDA cleared especially as a medical device that you’re wearing on your face, your medical waste, we want to make sure that we are following the instructions for use. If it says dispose of at X amount of minutes or after each patient, then that is what we’re supposed to be doing because that is what the FDA said. This isn’t, you know, just some flippant stuff on the back of a box, right?
Andrew Johnston: Right. Right.
Michelle Strange: Like, this is an FDA situation.
And the other thing that I would say that I like: I don’t have, like, a ton of room in my room. Like, I have a shelf that’s kind of skinny and narrow. I have very little room for things like a box of masks. And so the cone shape were just not working for me in my storage situation, and these fold flat, so I really did appreciate all of that.
Andrew Johnston: I like — so they fold flat, and then you unfold them. I like the shape of them. And I don’t know why I like the shape of these ones so much. They call it the “duck bill” for the breathing, and they call it a “breathing chamber.” And I think that that’s so — that’s such a fitting way of describing it.
Michelle Strange: It is.
So I’ll stop rambling about my experiences because I know you want to — and I’m excited to learn a little bit more about the supply chain management, which is something that we had not thought about when we had bought our supplies.
Andrew Johnston: Absolutely.
Before I do, I must warn you, though. Some of this might be a little bit boring for some. Other people are going to be like, “Wow. This is so incredibly fascinating.”
So, before we can talk about supply chain management, though, we do need to identify the supply and demand. And I know that you’ve all heard of that term before, but it’s a basic concept where the amount of the supply and the amount of the demand affect the cost of the product.
So, in a situation where the demand is low, suppliers will generally limit the amount of the production to keep the price or the value of the individual item kind of in a stable range. An example of this would be the recent experiences we’ve had with the cost of oil. During the shutdowns of the pandemic, all the demand went down because no one’s really traveling. People are still using kind of smaller mechanical devices, mowing their lawn, things like that, but the bigger machinery since everyone shut down wasn’t being used. So the consumption of the gas and the oil was greatly reduced.
So, because of this, the organizations — there are organizations that control oil production, and so they decided that they were going to slow down the production of it to keep it a steady pace with the consumption. There’s a whole nother thing about oil reserves that we’re not even going to get into.
Conversely though when demand is high, the manufacturers are really trying to ramp up that production. You want to have that always be in supply for your customers. By doing so, generally they’re going to see an increase in sales, and it’ll be happy for everybody.
So the cost of an item is generally due to several factors, though. In addition to supply and demand, you have labor costs, shipping costs, costs of raw materials. There’s just so many other things that are factored in. And, as the world has kind of changed and we’ve gone from a localized supply chain — so think, like, you’ll have — a local company goes out, cuts down some trees. Either them or another company will come in, haul those trees to the sawmill, the sawmill will do its part. They’ll then sell the lumber to a lumber yard, or they’ll have a lumber yard themselves, or they’ll send it out to one of these local maybe hardware stores or things like that, and that’s when the consumer will go in and purchase a plank of wood or whatever.
So, as we move from that to more of a global supply chain where your raw materials might be from one part of the world and then they’re shipped to another part of the world for manufacturing and then another part of the world will maybe assemble those things, there’s all sorts of — everyone’s doing a little bit here and there at a reduced cost compared to where they could do it locally. And so the idea is by doing it that way, everyone’s working together. You have a product that’s coming out at a lower price. And so things have gotten really interesting.
They’ll try and reduce the cost of either labor or raw materials in other areas of the world to keep — again, keeping that price in check. And things were generally working pretty good until, of course, the pandemic of COVID-19. There’s this actually a really great podcast from, um, it’s called Business Casual, and the title of the episode is “Your Crash Course in Supply Chains, Globalization, and COVID-19” featuring the Dean of Wharton School Geoffrey Garrett. I really suggest that you check it out. If any of this sounds interesting to you, I would definitely listen to that one. He kind of goes into whether it’s good or bad that we’ve had this disruption in global supply chain.
Anyways, so you’re asking yourself, “Uh, Andrew, why are we talking about supply chains at all?” And so the company I work for and probably your offices as well have been hit really hard by this disruption in that global supply chain. I’ve heard so many unfortunate stories about shipping being delayed or lost coming overseas. We don’t have our masks. We don’t have our gloves. We don’t have the things that we need to do our job. And so those once reliable outlets that we had, they’re completely gone. And this is where Halyard has really shown their ability to shine when we’ve needed them the most.
Halyard’s masks are made in America, and they do not rely upon the shipping over the ocean. So, from fabric to finish, everything is right here in the Americas. And they have ramped up their N95 mask production to meet the customer allocation, and even during the pandemic, those levels of allocation have stayed constant. They’ve been able to supply everybody.
So Halyard has a reliable supply every single day. They control the manufacturing, again, from end to end. And that, my friends, is why we’re talking about supply chain management.
Michelle Strange: Well, we hope you guys learned a little bit about supply chain management. And, if you have a tiny little face or, you know, a regular size faced, you should just check out this mask from Halyard. You can learn more at halyardhealth.com or products.halyardhealth.com, and that’s H-A-L-Y-A-R-D.
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