A fever is often the sign of a virus or bacterial infection. In most cases these are short-lived and relatively harmless. Some people don’t mind a fever if it means they can take a day off and rest. However for some the idea of having a fever may allow their minds to conjure up a worst-case scenario of an untimely death or protracted illness. When the fear becomes unreasoning it is known as Febriphobia, Fibriphobia or Fibriophobia.
The fear of fevers can prevent some suffers from enjoying common social interactions and render them a recluse even when they want to experience friendships outside their own small circle.
What Causes Febriphobia?
One of the key causal agents for this phobia is an obsessive/compulsive personality. This means that a person may obsess about whether they are feverish. The tendency then is to check their temperature often believing that the fever will show up soon. The trouble is one of the symptoms of most fears is an elevated temperature due to anxiety. The individual may get the results they were fearfully expecting, but it may not be because they actually have a physical issue.
The fear associated with this phobia is not simply a fear of fever, but often a fear of one of thousands of diseases. The fear can present itself more prominently at times when the individual comes in contact with others who may or may not be carrying a disease.
This fear can be heightened by living with a relative who constantly checked temperatures because they believed that their child was coming down with something. This isn’t the occasional check when a problem is suspected, but checking in an obsessive way.
Symptoms of Febriphobia
As you might expect one of the key symptoms of Febriphobia is avoidance. Those with this fear will stay away from public spaces and other individuals who may have some sort of infection.
Other symptoms may also include…
- Elevated body temperature
- Air hunger
- Elevated heart rates
- An urge to flee
- An obsession with antibacterial hand sanitizer
There is a common theme that runs through the mind of those with this fear. They may believe they are setting themselves up for a debilitating illness or worse, death if they allow themselves to intentionally come in contact with something that will cause a fever. Their fear is justified as an act of self-preservation.
How to Overcome Febriphobia
This fear seems reasonable in one sense – you don’t want to needlessly infect yourself with germs. However the truth is, by obsessing about the potential you are alienating yourself from others who might otherwise prove to be a valuable friend.
A therapist knows how to deal with obsessive/compulsive disorders along with the fear that often accompany the OCD outbreaks.
Like so many fears this phobia can morph quickly into social anxiety, fear of disease, fear of death and any number of other phobias that can paralyze the most well-meaning individual from growing in their personal lives.
The fear of fevers is also referred to as:
- Fever fear