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Germaphobia and A Guide to Handwashing

Iesh Lal

Posted on December 3, 2018 00:40

2 users

Hi, my name is Iesh and I have a fear of germs. Here's hoping this article will serve as some form of therapy.

My Latest Thinking posts are usually about current affairs, the state of politics in the US, political opinions or just Donald Trump and the GOP in general. As with most peoples' writings, my posts are usually just a reflection of my inner thoughts, and I find it helpful to get these thoughts on paper (so to speak). It's a form of catharsis.

In the same vein, I'm hoping that this article will serve as another form of therapy. You see, I am somewhat afflicted by mysophobia, which is more commonly known as "germaphobia" — a fear of contamination and germs. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind getting dirty; I just feel psychologically inclined to ensure I'm clean later. 

Since I was maybe 10 or 11, I've been washing my hands so much that it annoys others, and if I don't get to wash my hands, I'll avoid eating certain foods or try to eat without touching anything. I'm not the type who needs to wash before and after everything, but when I do wash them, it takes a while. I usually try to find five-minute YouTube videos to play as a timer for washing before I eat, but if I feel like my hands are especially dirty, it might range from 7-10 minutes. The thing that gets most people is that I also spend a long time washing my hands before I shower. My argument is, "You wouldn't try to clean a dish with a dirty rag, would you?" 

A few more examples: When I visit my parents, my mother makes the same jokes before every meal when I say "Let me just wash my hands real quick" (It's usually just a loud "HERE WE GO" but sometimes it varies). In college, my roommates did the same thing, but they were cooler about it. They always thought it was weird when I would put chips or some other snack in a cup and "drink" it because I didn't want to touch it. I live with my girlfriend and she understands, but this phobia sometimes causes tension because I insist she change the way she's been doing things her whole life because it makes me uneasy (like putting silverware on the counter).

I'm working on being better about these kinds of things, and thinking myself a somewhat logical guy, I thought getting some more information would help because I find comfort in science proving cleanliness. So, I'm going to try to remember these things in the future to see if they'll help, and if you're like me, maybe these will help you, too:

  • This guide published by the CDC informs you as to when and for how long you should wash you hands. It says 20 seconds, but I'm going to try to wean myself down to one or two minutes to start. 
  • This article informs you about the different types of soaps and their active ingredients.
  • Similarly, this article goes into the ingredients a little more. 

Happy washing!

Iesh Lal

Posted on December 3, 2018 00:40

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