Mysophobia (Fear of Germs)

Mysophobia is the irrational fear of germs. This condition is also known as germaphobia. People suffering from mysophobia may experience large amounts of anxiety at the mere thought of germs. Their intense fear of becoming “contaminated” or “dirty” may force them to take extreme measures so to ensure that they remain “clean”.

Mysophobia may be an extension of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as many people who suffer from this mental illness often experience a fear of germs as well.

However, the distinction between the two is that the individual with OCD will often perform irrational and bizarre compulsions so to minimize their obsessive thoughts. With mysophobia, there is more of an emphasis on the sheer terror of germs and bacteria as opposed to additionally experiencing irrelevant compulsions (e.g. counting to a “safe” number) like with OCD.

Mysophobia is actually one of the more common phobias, along with the fear of the number 13, the fear of dogs, and the fear of planes, among several others. People suffering from mysophobia may go to painstaking efforts to stay clean.

This will all be done in an attempt to help rid themselves of the intense anxiety associated with this condition. Although they may experience less acute anxiety when avoiding “germs”, by doing so they may also be worsening their mysophobia in the long run due to them constantly reinforcing their fear.

Symptoms of Mysophobia

People experiencing mysophobia may find themselves cleaning excessively or throwing things away because they may be “contaminated”. Their intense fear of germs may force them to spend most of their time indoors. They may also take multiple showers a day and use plastic silverware and plastic plates so that it can be thrown away immediately after use.

Someone with mysophobia may find it very difficult to form healthy relationships with other people as they may isolate themselves by staying home alone or away from populated areas that may contain a lot of germs. Like with most phobias, those suffering from mysophobia will often use avoidance as their way of ensuring that they don’t experience the anxiety and stress that germs and bacteria may give them.

Below, you’ll see some of the most common symptoms of this phobia:

  • Intense anxiety when around dirt or grime
  • Very anxious when thinking about germs
  • Avoiding public places
  • Taking excessive showers
  • Excessively cleaning their home
  • Excessive hand washing

Causes of Mysophobia

Like with virtually all mental illnesses, there is no known cause for someone developing mysophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may play very significant roles. If you have a family history of mental illness, especially of anxiety disorders or of phobias, then you may be at risk for developing mysophobia. However, it may take having a genetic predisposition along with enduring a traumatic experience of some sort to actually develop mysophobia.

Such a traumatic experience may be that you got very sick once and were disgusted with yourself or perhaps you grew up in a very dirty, bacteria infested home. Oftentimes, the traumatic experiences that are said to be the causes of certain mental disorders typically occur during childhood or early adulthood, as opposed to later in life. However, this will very from person to person.

As previously mentioned, there may be a connection between mysophobia and OCD. It is perfectly reasonable to think that someone who already has OCD may develop mysophobia seeing as how they might get trapped in repetitively thinking and worrying about germs or being contaminated by germs. In fact, excessive hand washing and excessive cleaning are actually quite common symptoms of OCD. So, there may be a connection between the two disorders in some way.

Mysophobia Treatment

CBT for mysophobia

CBT is a very common form of treatment for people suffering from anxiety disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder, among several others. In addition to being an advantageous form of treatment for those conditions, it can also be very useful for helping people with mysophobia as well.

CBT works by having you and your therapist discuss ways in which you can think differently about germs. You can expect your therapist to introduce many new ways that you can approach your intense fear of germs by not only implementing healthier thinking patterns, but also incorporating healthier behaviors as well.

In addition to this, someone with mysophobia partaking in CBT can also expect to learn a plethora of different coping skills to help them for when their anxiety becomes exacerbated. Such skills can be very useful when experiencing a high influx of anxiety or during a panic attack. However, depending on how you respond to such a treatment, you may benefit more greatly by engaging in what is called exposure therapy.

Exposure therapy for mysophobia

In addition to CBT, exposure therapy may also work very well for people suffering with mysophobia. This type of therapy would work by having the therapist slowly expose the patient to germs or dirt in some capacity. The therapist will probably have the patient start off small and work their way up so that they can help to desensitize the patient from their irrational fear of germs.

So, someone with severe mysophobia partaking in exposure therapy can expect to be exposed to germs first by looking at photos of germs or photos of dirty/infected objects. The therapist may then move on to exposing the patient to videos which show germs or dirty areas. Eventually, the therapist may move on to exposing the patient to actual germs in real life insofar as it is safe to do so. The degree to which the patient will be exposed to germs will depend on many different factors, such as how severe their mysophobia is, among other things.

Although this can be a very effective form of therapy for someone with mysophobia, it is imperative that it be implemented very carefully as to not instill too much fear into the patient. This may have the opposite effect of what is desired with exposure therapy. So, it is always best to seek out treatment from a therapist who is very experienced and adept at treating phobias.

Medications for mysophobia

Medication such as anti-anxiety or antidepressants may be able to help with treating the symptoms associated with mysophobia. Some common medications used to help people suffering from anxiety disorders are Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many other. These types of medications are especially used for people who prone to experience intense bouts of anxiety or somewhat random panic attacks. Antidepressants may also be useful for someone with mysophobia too. Such drugs include, Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac, among several others.

Taking such medications may be especially useful for people who suffer from additional mental disorders such as depression or panic disorder, among others. However, to truly minimize your mysophobia symptoms in the long run, you will most likely need to be involved in some sort of therapy that will help you to create healthier thinking patterns, as well as learning new coping skills. Becoming adept at such things requires practice. So, medication alone may not be enough to fully treat mysophobia.

Mindfulness meditation for mysophobia

Mindfulness meditation can be a very useful technique to implement for anyone suffering from virtually any form of anxiety or unwanted emotion. Although clinically implemented mindfulness techniques are often used to help treat people who suffer from emotion regulation issues, social anxiety, or other analogous issues, mindfulness can also be effectively implemented to help people suffering from phobias as well, including mysophobia.

Such mindfulness techniques would be for the person with mysophobia to become aware of the way their body feels when they are experiencing anxiety resulting from their irrational fear of germs. This would include them redirecting their attention away from the vast amount of worry thoughts they can expect to experience toward focusing on the sensation of anxiety itself.

They can focus their attention on the way their muscles feel as they involuntarily tense up, the way their heart feels as it begins to pound more forcefully, and any other physiological sensations which arise as a direct result of their mysophobia.

If you think you may suffer from mysophobia or if you feel as though that you may be experiencing some of the symptoms associated with this mental illness, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can work toward improving your mental health and overall quality of life. If you decide to take such an action, then it may be in your best interest to write down any questions or concerns that you’d like to get cleared up. Doing so will not only make you more prepared, but it will also help to minimize any uncertainty that you may be experiencing.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for mysophobia

MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from mysophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with mysophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.

Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of mysophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.

Exercise for mysophobia

Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including mysophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.

According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of mysophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.

There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of mysophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with mysophobia over time.

Yoga for mysophobia

There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from mysophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with mysophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.

There are many different types of yoga that someone with mysophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with mysophobia.

If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of mysophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.

Reducing Caffeine for mysophobia

It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with mysophobia to experience panic attacks.

So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.

Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with mysophobia.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for mysophobia

DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like mysophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.

One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with mysophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.

Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with mysophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.

Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with mysophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your mysophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.

Mysophobia and OCD

As one can imagine, the symptoms of mysophobia are also experienced by those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as well. Many people who have OCD find themselves obsessing over the cleanliness of things to the point of taking extreme precautions. Many, if not all of the precautions taken by someone with OCD will be irrational and unnecessary. The same can be said for someone suffering from mysophobia as well.

It is possible for someone with OCD to also have mysophobia. However, such a phobia is likely to go unnoticed seeing as how being fearful of germs is such a common symptom among those with OCD. Their mysophobia will likely not be diagnosed and instead will simply be seen as an extension of their OCD symptoms.

In contrast, someone diagnosed with mysophobia will likely be able to tell whether or not they also have OCD as this condition comes with a plethora of different symptoms such as having repetitive obsessions and compulsions about a breadth of different anxieties. The difference  between both conditions is that someone with mysophobia will be extremely fearful of germs, but will not spend much of their time obsessing about them, while someone with OCD will, as well as perform numerous compulsions which are associated with each obsession.

Someone with OCD can expect to experience some symptoms of mysophobia as they will likely find themselves obsessing about the cleanliness of arbitrary things like door knobs, elevator buttons, gas pumps, and even items in their own home which they themselves use. Although someone with mysophobia can also be expected to have similar concerns, the extent to which such concerns will bother them will not result in them ruminating about it all throughout the day like someone with OCD would.

Also, similar to mysophobia, someone with OCD suffering from obsessions and compulsions about germs can expect to find treatment with forms of exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Although, given the breadth of different obsessions and compulsions that someone with OCD will likely have, they may find CBT to be more useful for them. However, this will vary from person to person.

For example, it may be quite challenging for a therapist to successfully implement exposure therapy for someone with OCD who has an obsession about germs because although their obsession about germs will be worked on and hopefully improved, dozens or even hundreds of other painstaking obsessions and compulsions will be left untreated. So, for someone in such a situation, it may be beneficial for them to partake in CBT on its own or CBT in addition to exposure therapy.

If you happen to have OCD yourself, or if you have mysophobia and you think you may have OCD in addition to it, then you should talk to your doctor/therapist as soon as you can so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated for your symptoms. Doing so may help you to better understand why you think and feel the way you do about not only germs, but also other concerns which may occupy your mind.

10 Common Germs

Below, you will see some common germs, as well as some facts about them.

1.) Bacillus Cereus

This germ is a type of bacteria that produces toxins. Such toxins may cause you to have diarrhea or vomit. The illness associated with this bacteria can last up to 24 hours. The diarrhea/vomiting in particular can last for several hours. Such an uncomfortable type of germ may make those suffering from mysophobia to experience even higher amounts of unwanted anxiety. This is especially true for those who are on the severe end of the spectrum.

2.) Staphylococcus

This bacteria is commonly found on the hair and skin, among other areas. Staphylococcus can be found in around 25 percent of healthy people. This bacteria has been known to cause food poisoning in people when someone preparing food accidentally contaminates it.  Essentially, any food that is made by hand in someway may be at risk for becoming infected with staphylococcus insofar as the preparer carried such bacteria. Food poisoning is likely to be a very common fear among those with mysophobia, so much so that they may be hyper-conscious of where they eat and how it is prepared.

3.) Hepatitis A

This is a liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis A virus. This disease can easily be spread through food or water. Hepatitis A is very unique in that it is one of the few foodborne illnesses that can successfully be prevented by vaccination. Some of the main sources of Hepatitis A are undercooked shellfish from contaminated waters, raw vegetables, and other uncooked foods. People suffering from mysophobia may find it very difficult to go out to eat at restaurants as their fear of getting Hepatitis A may be too powerful to bear.

4.) E. coli

This is a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines of animals. In some extreme cases, E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and sometimes even death. E. coli can be easily acquired by contaminated food, contaminated water, and from animals that are already infected with the bacteria. People suffering from mysophobia may be all too aware of E. coli and the side effects which are attributed to it as this bacteria is one of the more common ones in this list. An irrational fear of E. coli may cause someone to be obsessive about which foods they eat and from where.

5.) Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea, or The Clap as it is also called, is an infection that is caused by a sexually transmitted bacterium. The effects of gonorrhea can often be felt in the throat, in the urethra, or in the rectum. Also, the effects may only last for days or weeks. Gonorrhea spreads by sexual contact and can indeed be treated. Although, people suffering from mysophobia may find little comfort in knowing that this bacterium can be treated seeing as how their intense fear of germs will likely be very hyperbolic and out of touch with reality.

6.) Salmonella

Salmonella is the name of a group of bacteria and it is actually one of the most common forms of food poisoning in the United States. Salmonella can be found in contaminated eggs, poultry, and unpasteurized milk, among other sources. People suffering from mysophobia may find day to day life to be quite challenging as so many foods have the potential to contain salmonella in them. With this being the case, it may force some people to take extreme measures such as only eating a modicum of things each day to ensure that they have virtually no chance of getting Salmonella.

7.) Clostridium Perfringens

Just as Salmonella is a common form of food poisoning in the United States, the same can be said for Clostridium Perfringens too. Infections from Clostridium Perfringens can come from contaminated beef, poultry, or gravies. If you were to somehow ingest it, then some symptoms that you can expect to experience are diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Although not nearly as lethal as some of the other germs on this list, such as E. coli for example, people suffering with mysophobia will likely not be swayed by such logic. With that being said, their intense fear of germs in general may make eating beef, poultry, or gravy a very rare occurrence.

8.) Vibrio Infections

Vibrio bacteria are very common in warm, coastal areas such as the Gulf of Mexico. They thrive in warm climates. Someone can get contaminated with a Vibrio Infection by eating contaminated seafood found in the warm waters of the Gulf. Someone suffering from this infection can expect to experience diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, among other symptoms. Avoiding the consumption of raw or undercooked shellfish may help to reduce one’s risk for getting a Vibrio Infection. Nevertheless, someone with mysophobia may abstain from eating any sort of seafood at all.

9.) Campylobacter

Another very common form of food poisoning is from what is called a Campylobacter. Its sources are raw and undercooked poultry, contaminated water, and unpasteurized milk. If you happened to ingest such vulnerable foods and have Campylobacter, then you may experience diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or cramps. The mere thought of this alone may give someone with mysophobia a high influx of unwanted anxiety. This may not only be due to the possible symptoms that one can experience as a result of this germ, but also due to the fact that these symptoms can last up to 10 days long in some instances.

10.) Listeria

This bacteria can be commonly found in soil, water, and in poultry or cattle. In addition to this, Listeria can also be present in raw milk. What makes this bacteria especially pernicious is that it can actually grow in cold conditions. The antithesis is true for most bacteria. Listeria is a host to many odd symptoms which someone can expect to experience if they were to somehow consume it. Such symptoms include having a fever, a stiff neck, and even confusion, among other symptoms. Such bizarre symptoms that someone can experience due to the consumption of this bacteria may make someone already suffering from mysophobia to be that much more afraid of germs in general.

Common areas where germs accrue

Public restrooms

It should come to no surprise that public restrooms are littered with germs and bacteria and can be a horror show for people with mysophobia. Although this isn’t always the case as many nice restaurants and other clean establishments have very clean bathrooms, most public restrooms can be justly deemed to be quite dirty. How many times have you went into a public restroom only to watch in horror as a random person leaving the stall went straight out the door without washing their hands, firmly grasping the door handle on their way out?

People suffering with mysophobia will likely be well aware of how dirty public restrooms typically are as they will almost never go into one. This can be a problem for a multitude of reasons, such as the obvious one of being a huge inconvenience among those suffering with mysophobia. Someone with an irrational fear of germs can be expected to only use their own bathroom in their homes as they may believe it to be cleaner than any other bathroom at any restaurant or store. Although this may indeed be true, the ramifications of such thinking can be very pernicious for someone suffering with mysophobia.

Swimming pools

Someone suffering with mysophobia can expect their superfluous fear of germs to creep into many areas of their lives, such as things which give people pleasure like going to a movie theater, a local restaurant, or going in public swimming pools as these places may be the home to many unwanted germs. Swimming pools in particular may be one of the most terrifying of the three examples presented in the eyes of someone with mysophobia. Someone with mysophobia may see a pool as nothing more than a giant cauldron containing a cesspool of numerous germs and bacteria.

Although public pools and water parks do in fact have their fair share of germs, someone with mysophobia will likely be unable to rationally think about this concern without being instantly terrified of the mere thought of it. In addition to swimming pools, jacuzzi’s are also known to be cesspools of bacteria given its warm temperatures with which most bacteria thrive in. Simply thinking of such a reality is enough to evoke an immense amount of fear in someone with mysophobia, so much so that they will avoid any sort of public swimming pool as best they can in an attempt to protect themselves from being potentially contaminated by any unsuspecting germs.

Grocery stores

Supermarkets of all sizes are sometimes thought to be the home to tons of germs as thousands upon thousands of different human hands touch virtually every product on the shelves. This is a very easy way to spread germs and people suffering from full blown mysophobia may be all too aware of this reality. Although simply washing one’s hands before leaving the supermarket or using some sort of hand sanitizer after all the shopping is finished will most certainly reduce their risk for carrying any unsuspecting germs out of the store and into their car and home, such logic will likely be white noise to someone with mysophobia.

This may make day to day life quite challenging for someone with mysophobia as the mere thought of walking into a grocery store may be painfully anxiety provoking. So, someone with extreme mysophobia may avoid going to grocery stores altogether by getting their family or friends to get them the products they need, such as food and other household products. Be that as it may, there will still be some people with mysophobia who will be able to actually enter into a store only to experience an overwhelming amount of anxiety and dread along the way.

Child daycares

Children are known for many things, but cleanliness is not one of them. Although daycare workers oftentimes do their best to keep the environment clean for the children there, as well as for themselves, it can be quite challenging to do so, especially if the particular daycare center is understaffed. Children put things into their mouths, nose, and any other area where they are curious enough to explore. We see this with children putting pennies in their noses or catching them eating glue. Most children don’t have a concern for germs. So, they cannot be expected to withhold anywhere near the same sort of hygienic habits that a health-conscious adult would.

Although someone with mysophobia may not spend much of their day to day life being concerned about the potential breadth of germs which may exist in any given daycare, such a concern may enter their consciousness if they themselves have a child who attends daycare somewhat consistently. In instances where this would be the case, the person with mysophobia may be superfluously fearful of their child bringing home a slew of deathly germs from their daycare.

Public transportation

Taxi cabs, busses, trains, subways, and airplanes are all likely to be the home of many germs simply due to the sheer number of people who go in and out of these areas in any given day. The ability for staff working in such conditions to adequately clean all areas in a relatively frequent manner is almost never feasible. Thus, a large reason as to why many forms of public transportation are full of germs.

Although this is most certainly not always the case, it can assuredly be said for workers working in the more heavily populated forms of transportation, such as buses and subways. Someone suffering from full blown mysophobia may be so fearful of germs that they may refuse to ever go on a public bus, subway, train, or airplane of any kind. Although there are a multitude of ways in which someone can greatly reduce their risk for being susceptible to germs in such situations, such as using hand sanitizer, washing their hands immediately after getting off, or using lysol spray on the seats, among many other things, someone with mysophobia will likely still be extremely fearful of becoming sick or infected in some way.

10 Dangerous Conditions to Test Your Fear of Germs

1.) Smallpox

Smallpox is an eradicated virus that was highly contagious. It hasn’t existed since the 1980’s. The condition could cause disfiguring and was often a death sentence. The sheer ease at which Smallpox could spread from one person to another may have given those suffering from mysophobia during this time an unmetered amount of terror. People experiencing Smallpox would often get a rash on their face, arms, and their trunk.

2.) Typhus/Camp Fever

The Typhus Fever went by many other names, such as Camp Fever, War Fever, and Jail Fever. However, regardless of how you decide to call it, this illness was caused by a bacterium known as Rickettsia prowazekii. Some symptoms of Typhus include backache, abdominal pain, dry cough, nausea, and headaches, among other things. In fact, one of the most pernicious of symptoms one can expect to have is a very high fever of 105°F to 106°F. Such potential symptoms may give those suffering from full blown mysophobia an influx of unwanted anxiety which may be so intense that they may even experience full blown panic attacks because of it.

3.) Spanish flu

The Spanish flu occurred between January 1918 and December 1920 and is sometimes called “The 1918 influenza pandemic”. It was a very deadly flu which killed around 50 to 100 million people worldwide. According to a source, within the first year of the Spanish flu pandemic, life expectancy in the United States dropped by about 12 years. Such a widespread and terrifying flu can easily be seen as the cause of many people developing mysophobia during that time. This is especially the case when we take into consideration that the Spanish flu affected about 500 million people worldwide.

4.) The Black Plague

Also known as The Black Death, The Great Plague, or just The Plague, it was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. The Black Plague’s apotheosis was from 1347 to 1351 in Europe. It is estimated that between 75 and 200 million people died as a direct result of The Plague. The cause of this plague may have been due to infected flea bites as Europeans during these times were not known to practice good hygiene. It can be easily imagined that the people during this time could have easily developed mysophobia as they saw loved ones die from the painful death which The Black Plague unmercifully endowed upon its victims.

5.) Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral infection that is carried and spread by mosquitoes. This acute viral haemorrhagic disease can be found occurring in parts of South America and Africa. Fortunately, it can be prevented by getting vaccinated. Be that as it may, once someone has Yellow fever, they will only be able to treat it as this infection is not curable. Such a reality may make the people living in South America and Africa to experience some of the symptoms of mysophobia.

6.) Polio

Polio is also called infantile paralysis, as well as poliomyelitis. Polio destroys nerve cells in the spinal cord which cause paralysis. Polio is spread through contaminated food or water and can be prevented by getting vaccinated. In 2015, there were no cases of Polio in the US. Be that as it may, people suffering from full blown mysophobia will likely not be swayed by such a statistic as their irrational fear of germs will be too overpowering. Nevertheless, it is at least understandable how someone with Polio or someone who knows someone who has Polio can develop some intense symptoms of mysophobia.

7.) Malaria

Malaria, also called the plasmodium infection is a disease caused by a plasmodium parasite. This parasite can be transmitted if bitten by an infected mosquito. There are less than 20,000 cases in the US per year of Malaria. Be that as it may, someone suffering from full blown mysophobia will likely not feel much better even after hearing how rare Malaria occurs, in the US that is, as their fear of germs is not based in reality. This may especially be the case when looking worldwide as Malaria is the cause of many deaths in various countries around the globe.

8.) Aids

Aids, or Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is a potentially life-threatening chronic condition which is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Aids can be spread by sexual contact and can be treated, not cured. Aids can last for years or be lifelong. Someone with Aids can expect to be quite sickly as their immune system becomes greatly weakened. Such a destructive condition may give someone with mysophobia an overwhelming amount of anxiety as they may be irrationally fearful of contracting Aids. Such a fear of contracting Aids may significantly impact their sex life in an abysmal way.

9.) Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. TB bacteria most commonly grows in the lungs, which can cause pain in the chest or coughing up blood, among other symptoms. TB is not easily contracted as it spreads by airborne droplets. Nevertheless, although this may be the case, someone suffering from full blown mysophobia will likely not feel much comfort from such a reality as their fear of germs is highly irrational. TB can also be spread when someone who has TB sneezes or coughs near an uninfected person. Knowing this may significantly increase someone’s fear of tuberculosis specifically.

10.) Cholera

Cholera is a bacterial disease that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. It is usually spread by drinking contaminated water. It is said to be a very rare disease in the US. However, this may not be very convincing to those suffering from mysophobia in the US. Although Cholera may be rare, it can be deadly nonetheless. Treatments for Cholera will typically include rehydration, antibiotics, and IV fluids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2.9 million cases and 95,000 deaths occur every year around the world as a result of Cholera.

If you think you may be suffering from some of the symptoms of this condition, then you may benefit from therapy. Feel free to reach out to your doctor or local mental health clinic to see what your available options are and to see if there is any sort of discount or promo code available to help you with the costs of treatment, as well as if your health insurance will cover treatment costs.

Affordable Therapy from your couch. 100% Online.

Get the help you deserve & try online therapy through the world's largest mental health platform - BetterHelp.

Click below to save 10% on treatment.

As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.