The fear of microbes is known as Bacillophobia. Microbes are organisms too small to be seen by the naked eye – but they are all around us, every minute of every day…
Reasons For This Phobia
Many people with Bacillophobia are afraid of “bad” organisms, those that cause disease and damage. However, there are four different types of microbes, and not all of them are harmful.
The “bad” organisms manifest themselves as flu bugs, fungi, and other such nastiness. Certain microbes can make you violently ill, and these are usually the primary triggers for Bacillophobia.
Some fear of microbes is quite justified. Throughout history, microbes have been responsible for pandemics that caused huge loss of life. For examples, rampant viruses such as the Spanish Flu wiped out millions of people. Today, viral infections such as HIV have taken their toll on our population.
Is Scientific Knowledge A Trigger?
Knowledge of science can actually exacerbate this phobia. Knowing how easily microbes can damage health may make those with scientific knowledge wary and even paranoid. Films like Outbreak, which detailed the terrible effects of hantaviruses, have also contributed to Bacillophobia.
Some Microbes Can Be Good For You
However, some forms of microbial matter can be good for your health. Today’s probiotic yogurts and dairy products help to cleanse and purify the digestive tract, contributing to a stronger immune system and a more efficient body. Learning about good bacteria can be an essential method of coping with the fear of microbes.
Hygiene and protective measures will be important to the person with this phobia. They may feel nervous about physical contact with strangers, or people who are ill. They will avoid situations where they must be in contact with high-risk groups, such as school-age children, who often carry contagious viruses.
In extreme cases, career choices will be impacted by the fear of microbes.
Supporting the body through proper diet, exercise, and the avoidance of things that negatively impact the body’s ability to defend itself against microbes will be vital for management of Bacillophobia.
Staying Healthy Can Ease Fears
White sugar, refined flour, and preservatives are part of the unhealthy modern diet, known by some as the “white death” diet. Seeking out organic produce, lean proteins, and supplements that strengthen the immune system (such as acidophilus) will help to fight off infections.
Some people who’ve coped with vicious infections and illnesses caused by microbes will be more apt to develop this phobia. Their suffering and the weakening of their body, due to the presence of germs, will change the way they look at the world around them. They will realize that their health is fragile, and subject to attack from organisms that are invisible to the naked eye.
The invisibility of microbes makes them seem scary and mysterious. For centuries, people attributed their illnesses and viruses to punishment from God, or some other higher power. They thought there was a relationship between sin and sickness. This viewpoint can even exist today. There is a segment of the population who believe (quite cruelly) that epidemics like AIDS are punishment for homosexuality, which is taboo in many faiths. Fortunately, many compassionate people do not subscribe to this viewpoint, and AIDS is being treated with great success in recent years.
Symptoms And Treatment
The symptoms of the fear of microbes will include a fetish for cleanliness, a dislike of touching others, and frequent handwashing and sanitizing. When faced with triggers, the person with Bacillophobia will become agitated and upset, feeling powerless to avoid the things they fear. Nausea, dizziness, and symptoms of panic attacks will be common. Avoidance of triggers will become very important.
Treating this phobia requires a deeper understanding of why a person fears microbes. If they have suffered from an infectious illness, they will require frequent reassurances from doctors, that they are well. They may also require some psychotherapy to deal with the effects of their phobia. Phobias take hold in the psyche, warping perspective and creating tension that can cause illness and emotional wear and tear.
Other names for the Fear of Microbes
Fear of Viruses
Fear of Getting Sick
Fear of Microbial Infections