ORLANDO, Fla. — Admit it, we’ve all been there. You’re out running errands when you see someone cough or sneeze on something you’re about to have to touch.

But one Central Florida man’s invention may help you to avoid getting sick during flu seasons.

For Todd Roberts, the idea for “CleanBlock” started in a doctor’s office. He was waiting in line but avoiding signing in, because the person in front of him was sick.

“... When I got to sit down finally at the desk, they asked me to please sign in and sign the waivers and the authorization for insurance. I said, ‘I’m sorry, I cannot touch this pen,’” said Roberts, who is also an Orlando Health bio-repository manager.  

When he asked the person at the front desk, Roberts said they were quick to put on gloves and wipe down the pen with an alcohol wipe, but told him that they weren’t able to do it every time because of the time it would take, and that the wipes would severely dry out their hands after a few hours.

When he got home, he got to work. And for the past decade, the Orlando Health employee has been developing CleanBlock.

The invention provides a fast way to disinfect pens that people use every day in public spots, like the doctor’s office or grocery store.

You don’t have to worry about it drying out your pen’s ink either. Tests have shown pens can write for 1,400 swipes through the CleanBlock.

With flu season underway, finding ways to disinfect everyday items at home, school, or work can help you protect yourself and your family from getting sick. 

Right now, flu levels in Orange County are at moderate levels. The Florida Department of Health in Orange County says at the end of last month, flu numbers were higher than the past two flu seasons.

While numbers show decreasing activity in recent weeks, doctors recommend washing hands and the regular disinfectant of everyday items. 

For Roberts, working with the oncology patients at Orlando Health helped inspire his invention and show the need for this product.

“... those patients that come through, for us it would just be like a minor cold or major, basically a crapshoot. But for them, anything minor or major is basically detrimental, because their immune system is totally compromised,” Roberts said.

He’s hopeful that CleanBlock will help those patients and everyone else coming into contact with it to ensure people aren’t left holding onto germs that could get them sick.

After around years of development, CleanBlock hit the market this month and has already been receiving orders around the country. It will be rolled out onto Orlando Health campuses throughout 2020.

For more information, visit CleanBlock’s website