Interest and demand for passive disinfecting techniques such as sprays, skins and UV lights really took off in those anxious, early days of the pandemic. Much of that buzz is now fading away, say distributors.

“It hasn’t been too sticky,” Nolan says, adding that it has been months since anyone has inquired about some of these technologies.

Some distributors see the decline in interest as a positive thing. Early in the pandemic, governing bodies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were so overwhelmed with validating product and equipment claims, some slipped through the cracks without notice.

“The snake oil salesmen really came out of the woodwork in the beginning,” recalls Rasin. “It became obvious that if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

However, one innovation that Rasin stands by is electrostatic sprayers. Introduced before the pandemic, this technology works well and can really save time for end user customers.

Wells agrees and points out that her education clients continue to inquire about and buy these electrostatic devices.

“Before the pandemic we had a few schools that used these and their absentee numbers declined dramatically,” she recalls. “Now, most schools want the technology.”

Bracing For The Future

Pandemic trends may be shifting, but that doesn’t mean other viral threats aren’t lurking and biding their time. In fact, certain risks are rising. Experts are predicting a particularly nasty flu season this fall and winter, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is already on the rise, particularly in the southern states. Plus, there are always common colds, bronchitis, stomach bugs and plenty more to look out for.

These ordinary, everyday illnesses can still wreak havoc on employees and workplace productivity.

“Finance and insurance employees work in teams of six to seven people,” says Nolan. “If one person comes to work sick, the whole team may catch it and end up going home.”

Luckily, with disinfection protocols fresh on everyone’s mind, distributors may find willing clients eager to talk about cleaning for health.

“I’ve heard questions over the last 18 months that were never asked before,” says Flug. “People are already talking about things like dwell time. I think it will be less of a re-education and more of a reminder about best practices.”

Rasin suggests distributors take a proactive approach with customers. Get out ahead of virus and infection threats.

“People are pandemic weary, but that doesn’t mean we should eliminate protective protocols,” he says. “You can still die from the flu and we don’t want to go backwards. It is important to remain vigilant and diligent.”

That means continued professional training, extending emphasis on hand- washing, keeping masks available and marketing.

“This year we will start marketing for flu prevention right when school starts,” says Wells. For her company, that means sending out informative videos and reminding customers that they need to be prepared.

“It’s not just about buying disinfectant but knowing how and when to use the products,” she adds.

The pandemic really proved the value of the distributor/client partnership. As supplies tightened, distributors became innovators, finding replacements and sourcing new solutions. As questions poured in, they leveraged their knowledge and shared their experience. And as the bulk of the population slowed down or worked from home, they worked 10 times harder, says Wells.

“We are geared up for what’s coming and more than prepared,” she adds.

Amy Milshtein is a freelancer based in Portland, Oregon.

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Infection Control Strategies For The Future