Phobia Facts: Germaphobia


Whether it’s a table, phone or door handle, anything and everything has germs. With the sudden uprise of COVID-19, germs and bacteria are being talked about more than ever. For many, germs are often disregarded, but for germaphobes, doing a relatively easy task could be a lot harder to accomplish. Germaphobia, or mysophobia, is defined simply as the fear of germs and is most commonly associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As stated by Healthline’s “All about Germaphobia” article, germaphobia can lead to avoidance of situations where one may be exposed to germs, difficulty functioning and concentrating at home, work or school settings and spending an excessive amount of time thinking about germs. 

Symptoms of germaphobia can be seen through physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions. According to Healthline, anxiety-related symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath, shaking and nausea could all occur.

Not everyone experiences the same symptoms or the same type of impact from germaphobia. For those with less severe symptoms, germs and contamination may be feared, but they don’t necessarily change the way one lives their life. In contrast, the effects of germaphobia on someone with intense symptoms could be damaging and harm their physical, mental and social life.

Although not brought up a lot, many of the celebrities we know today are total germaphobes. Famous actress Megan Fox is just one of plenty examples of this. Her OCD is most commonly triggered by germs where public toilet seats without covers or restaurant silverware freaks her out. 

“This is a sickness, I have an illness,” Fox told Allure Magazine.

According to Psycom, exposure therapy is a common treatment plan that allows those affected to gradually reverse these patterns in a way that is safe and effective. Another common type of therapy may be cognitive behavioral therapy where the individual may test their thoughts and determine their rationality. 

If germaphobia is greatly impacting your life, it is important to seek help. There are plenty of options available such as different types of therapy, reaching out to a school counselor or medications if needed.