Fear of Fever

When you have a fever it is generally a sign that you will have some down time. Some don’t mind a legitimate excuse to stay home and rest, but others have a genuine fear of fevers. That fear is known as Pyrexiophobia.

Strictly speaking a fever is often an indication that your body is working to fight off an infection. In most cases your body will win the war. Your body is very effective at meeting infection threats head on and sending the infection away. Doctors often assist by prescribing antibiotics and suggesting the addition of fever reducing medications to maintain appropriate body heat.

What Causes the Fear of Fevers?

This fear is often lodged in memories of the past when certain illnesses often meant death if fevers were a part of the equation. Visions of ice baths and all-night vigils coupled with the specter of death allowed many parents to express profound worry over children with fevers. That concern was observed and many children have grown up to fear fevers – both in their children and in their own lives.

These individuals may also fear being about other people who may have a fever. The very presence of a fever signals potential death to the pyrexiophobe.

Symptoms of Pyrexiophobia

A person who fears fevers may have a very strong tie to anti-bacterial hand gel, disinfecting wipes and an aversion to close public spaces. This is their way of avoiding the germs that may lead to fevers.

Other symptoms include…

  • Trembling
  • Air hunger
  • Heart rate irregularities
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • A refusal to leave home
  • Checking temperatures even when there seems to be no reason to do so

This fear can create many uncomfortable social situations. The expression of the fear may lead others to believe that somehow you view them as a carrier of a plague. This can strain relationships especially when there is a lack of understanding in what you are going through.

How to Overcome Pyrexiophobia

You may need to enlist the aid of a therapist to help you come to grips with a fear that is likely tied to a fear of disease or even death. Many of the fears we have are often the recent and visible outgrowth of another fear. In this case the fear of a fever may be tied to a fear of germs that is tied to a fear of disease that is tied to the fear of death. There are building blocks in fear and the phobia you may be exhibiting right now may be the result of something else. By only treating one fear without finding the underlying cause is like putting a band-aid on a large wound. Until the initial source is treated the emotional wound of fear will not ultimately be resolved.

Once the original source is found there are many treatment options your therapist may consider that can allow you to better face your fear and understand a better reaction.

The fear of fevers is also referred to as:

  • Fever fear
  • Body temperature phobia
  • Pyrexiophobia
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