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Terrified to get sick


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Old 15th January 2018, 1:59 AM   #1
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Terrified to get sick

As stated in the title, I'm terrified to get sick. Colds, flus, random stomach bugs, food poisoning, etc. This year's rampant flu season is definitely not helping. At the moment I'm a bit of a nervous wreck. I'm a freelancer by trade and bounce between two major cities depending on the job. I have a tentative short-term job starting this week and I'm absolutely terrified to ride public transportation to get to work, so much so that I'm strongly considering asking for my hold to be released to I can "take a different job" (there is no different job just yet). That's only a one week job, and I can afford to not go, and technically I'm not even booked yet. There's other legit tentative work lined up for me afterwards, and that's work-from-home stuff so I won't be exposed as much to the general public.

I've gotten a bit better. If I notice someone is sick I'll avoid them, but if I'm around them and I find out they're ill I go into a self-contained rage in my head. Why are they out in public? Why did they invite me to come over?? Etc. I turn into a prick in public. Walking fast, dodging around people, getting visibly irritated or shaking my head when they're too close. Last week I saw a movie by myself. Packed theater, but I was in the back away from people. Sure enough, a couple sat behind me, and they found it appropriate to put their food on the ground and lean forward when they ate, so the guy was basically breathing in my ear for an hour and a half (not exaggerating). I didn't get sick.

A major reason I'm afraid to catch the flu is because, truth be told, I haven't had the flu since I was a child, so over 20 years, not because of my germaphobia though, either through natural immune responses or just sheer luck. I've never had a flu shot, and my lifestyle is more or less average. Recently I've been eating better and doing things to boost my immune system, but it must not have helped much because I came down with an annoying cold before Christmas. I should feel proud that I haven't had the flu in so long and praise my immune system, because it's inconceivable to think that in over 20 years I haven't been exposed to a random flu virus. In doing some research, I found out that the 2012/13 flu season was the worst on record (this year will probably beat it) and of course I didn't get sick. Instead, it just boosts my anxiety because each winter I think "this is gonna be the year..."

I know that the risk of contracting any contagious illness is a fact of life, but I wish that it didn't control my emotions and anxiety so much. I do combat it when it gets out of control. Using the flu for example, I look at the stats. In a bad season, upwards of 20% of the population will come down with the flu. That's 2 out of 10 people, 20/100, 200,000/1,000,000. When you break down those numbers, you're statistically LESS likely to get the flu. That doesn't stop me though. Facebook posts from sick people and news reports are only making it worse. When I'm sitting at home I feel like there's this apocalyptic outbreak in the air and I'm hunkering down like I'm in The Walking Dead. Earlier tonight I stopped at my favorite local coffee shop for a tea and I sat in my car staring at the establishment, wondering if I should go in. I took a step back and thought, I've been there hundreds of times and this time is no different. Nobody in there is sick. I did go in, got a tea, used hand sanitizer when I got back to my car, then didn't even end up drinking it until I got home. At that point it needed to be reheated.

I know I'm really rambling here, but this is kind of where my head is at right now. Like I said, I wish it didn't control me so much. My mind is thinking "when" and not "if." It's not a healthy way to think/live, and I want to turn it around.

Last edited by hamsterhouse; 15th January 2018 at 2:02 AM..
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Old 15th January 2018, 2:24 AM   #2
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There are many herbs that will keep you from getting a virus even after you've been exposed. Echinacea herb boosts your immune system way up there.

Viral Defense doesn't boost your immune system but works to keep you well by killing the virus. It works, too.

Gargling with a little H2O2 in the water will help with a cold or flu, in addition to using the above herbs.

If you start researching on the web, natural remedies for colds, flus, etc, you come up with a lot of things that will keep you well.

If you want to know where to buy organic echinacea for a good price PM me and I'll tell you where i get mine. You need to buy it from a reputable source. A health food store is a great place but you can buy it cheaper in bulk. However, there are all grades out there and many of them have fillers so you're getting very little of the actual herb. Will also tell you where to get the viral defense. That's the name of the product and only one website has it.

Take vitamin D3 and astaxanthin to keep your immune system healthy, also.
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Old 15th January 2018, 2:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by LivingWaterPlease View Post
There are many herbs that will keep you from getting a virus even after you've been exposed. Echinacea herb boosts your immune system way up there.

Viral Defense doesn't boost your immune system but works to keep you well by killing the virus. It works, too.

Gargling with a little H2O2 in the water will help with a cold or flu, in addition to using the above herbs.

If you start researching on the web, natural remedies for colds, flus, etc, you come up with a lot of things that will keep you well.

If you want to know where to buy organic echinacea for a good price PM me and I'll tell you where i get mine. You need to buy it from a reputable source. A health food store is a great place but you can buy it cheaper in bulk. However, there are all grades out there and many of them have fillers so you're getting very little of the actual herb. Will also tell you where to get the viral defense. That's the name of the product and only one website has it.

Take vitamin D3 and astaxanthin to keep your immune system healthy, also.
Thanks. I do other things to help my immunity too. I make kale smoothies every day loaded with fruits/veg/seed/etc. I also take two doses of a daily multivitamin. I've never taken echinacea before, but I'll definitely give it a try.

All this aside, what concerns me is that those techniques might not be working. I got my cold after living for a week in the other city (although I was walking a mile every day in the cold with a poor winter coat). It was a long lingerer too....I was fighting it off for over a week. Staying healthy and avoiding illness is great, but when it reaches a point of societal avoidance, then it becomes an issue. I'm kind of at that point.

Also, stupid me, I can't figure out how to PM in this forum...

Last edited by hamsterhouse; 15th January 2018 at 2:56 AM..
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Old 15th January 2018, 6:14 AM   #4
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As a new member, you don't have PM privileges.
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Old 15th January 2018, 7:25 AM   #5
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I think it can become an unhealthy obsession. I recently went on a date with a guy who pulled out anti-germ liquid to wipe his hands before eating. He literally took it out of his work bag and was wiping his hands slowly in full view of everyone before food arrived. He would also wipe door knobs before touching them. It's generally a sign of OCD.

Interestingly, research has shown that daily exposure to low level of viruses/bacteria can make your immune system stronger.
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Old 15th January 2018, 8:04 AM   #6
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I think it can become an unhealthy obsession. I recently went on a date with a guy who pulled out anti-germ liquid to wipe his hands before eating. He literally took it out of his work bag and was wiping his hands slowly in full view of everyone before food arrived. He would also wipe door knobs before touching them. It's generally a sign of OCD.

Interestingly, research has shown that daily exposure to low level of viruses/bacteria can make your immune system stronger.
I don't have OCD and I have done/do that.. I also use one after fueling the car, going grocery shopping and anything that people with colds handle things that I have to touch with my hands..
Have you ever seen a person with a cold pushing a cart sneeze in their hands then touch the cart handle ? I have.. it's gross to think someone else is going to touch their snot.

After having a kid I learned all about how to not get a cold...

However.. to go to the OP's issue.. I wouldn't change my life over it and certainly wouldn't change my job because of germs.

Maybe making sure you have hand cleaner always available.. or wear nice fashionable gloves and take them off after being on public transportation.
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Old 15th January 2018, 10:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by hamsterhouse View Post
Thanks. I do other things to help my immunity too. I make kale smoothies every day loaded with fruits/veg/seed/etc. I also take two doses of a daily multivitamin. I've never taken echinacea before, but I'll definitely give it a try.

All this aside, what concerns me is that those techniques might not be working. I got my cold after living for a week in the other city (although I was walking a mile every day in the cold with a poor winter coat). It was a long lingerer too....I was fighting it off for over a week. Staying healthy and avoiding illness is great, but when it reaches a point of societal avoidance, then it becomes an issue. I'm kind of at that point.

Also, stupid me, I can't figure out how to PM in this forum...
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Originally Posted by Art_Critic View Post
I don't have OCD and I have done/do that.. I also use one after fueling the car, going grocery shopping and anything that people with colds handle things that I have to touch with my hands..
Have you ever seen a person with a cold pushing a cart sneeze in their hands then touch the cart handle ? I have.. it's gross to think someone else is going to touch their snot.

After having a kid I learned all about how to not get a cold...

However.. to go to the OP's issue.. I wouldn't change my life over it and certainly wouldn't change my job because of germs.

Maybe making sure you have hand cleaner always available.. or wear nice fashionable gloves and take them off after being on public transportation.
I use hand sanitizer after pumping gas, shopping at the grocery store, etc. If I'm out to dinner with someone I usually go wash my hands after ordering/before food comes. I forgot to mention that I also regularly exercise with moderate intensity.

Like I said earlier, I've been mostly healthy my entire life with the exception of a cold here or there. I got two colds in 2017, one at the beginning and the other at the end. My mother on the other hand (who I had been around regularly) got literally 7 throughout the year.

I'm less concerned about ways to prevent illness and more concerned about the anxiety it causes and disrupts my daily life. Maybe the fact that I've been so healthy is what causes the fear? It's been so long that I don't remember what it even feels like to be very ill. I see pictures people post of themselves with their soups, teas, and television while they nurse a flu, but I imagine the flu to be stuck in bed retching uncontrollably, covered in vomit and barely conscious. I also haven't thrown up in about 11 years, and prior to that about 12-13 years. A couple of years ago I had a weird stint where I would get nauseous seemingly out of nowhere. It happened a few times then eased up, but then the anxiety it left behind would cause me to get more nauseous. It's more or less under control now, knock on wood.

The media hype also concerns me. It's a bad flu season, yes, but statistically you're less likely to get sick.
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Old 16th January 2018, 4:38 AM   #8
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Statistically adults are said to get an average of about 2-3 colds per year. OP you've been incredibly lucky - probably not what you want to hear though! But let's just say you do catch a cold at some point - depending on the severity of the virus and your own immune response, you may be able to just push through it. Normally I wouldn't advocate that (if you're sick, STAY HOME if you can, you'll avoid spreading it AND you'll recover quicker), but if you're working from home then spreading is a much smaller issue.

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Originally Posted by Eternal Sunshine View Post
Interestingly, research has shown that daily exposure to low level of viruses/bacteria can make your immune system stronger.
Seems to make sense. I'm nowhere near as diligent at hand washing as I should be, and I take the train/bus a lot and touch lots of things the general public touches (handrails, escalators, but money is the real big one). I didn't even get sick once at all last year. To be fair, I got sick at least 5 times a year in my first few years of uni (dorm-style accommodation is the worst...) I say I'm just immune to everything now Our bodies are designed to handle a bit of bacteria or viruses every now and then.
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Old 16th January 2018, 5:22 AM   #9
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Statistically adults are said to get an average of about 2-3 colds per year. OP you've been incredibly lucky - probably not what you want to hear though! But let's just say you do catch a cold at some point - depending on the severity of the virus and your own immune response, you may be able to just push through it. Normally I wouldn't advocate that (if you're sick, STAY HOME if you can, you'll avoid spreading it AND you'll recover quicker), but if you're working from home then spreading is a much smaller issue.



Seems to make sense. I'm nowhere near as diligent at hand washing as I should be, and I take the train/bus a lot and touch lots of things the general public touches (handrails, escalators, but money is the real big one). I didn't even get sick once at all last year. To be fair, I got sick at least 5 times a year in my first few years of uni (dorm-style accommodation is the worst...) I say I'm just immune to everything now Our bodies are designed to handle a bit of bacteria or viruses every now and then.
Thanks for the insight. Lucky I'll humbly admit, but rather than being proud of it it causes me anxiety, like "this is the year...I know it." Colds I try to avoid but tolerate, it happens. Flu is what I'm most afraid of, mostly this year though. Because we've had such a rampant flu season my anxiety has skyrocketed more so than any previous year.
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Old 17th January 2018, 6:30 PM   #10
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As long as you're getting good sleep, eating well and are feeling healthy (and do NOT touch your face, eyes, nose and mouth with your hands unwashed) you probably won't get the flu. It's when you're run down and stressed, not eating well and your defenses are not good that's when you have to be more careful.

I understand your health anxiety, especially right now since it's a bad year with the flu... Just don't let it get out of control. You're doing all that you can to avoid it but don't change jobs because there's small chance you'll get sick with the flu.

Wear a mask on the train (people will stay away from YOU out of fear.. Find the humour in that!) or take a cab to the job instead of public transportation.

Have you ever sought out counseling (CBT) for your anxiety/health anxiety issues? And when you do catch something does it upset/freak you out? Just wondering where the fear is coming from and how it could get worse if you don't learn to control the fears. (trust me I get anxiety as a fellow sufferer)
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Old 17th January 2018, 6:34 PM   #11
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I have two friends with the flu right now. One got a flu shot (and is a nurse) and the other...not sure if she got the shot or not. I've never had it, I'm 45, and I've only had the flu once, about 20 years ago also. But, I can totally relate to your fear. I also freelance and rarely even leave my home, so I can imagine how you're feeling. My only advice is to not stop living. Wear gloves and don't put those gloves near your mouth. Maybe even wear a surgical mask on the subway if you're worried? Surely you wouldn't be the only one and much stranger things are seen on public subways. Also, carry Purell with you everywhere.
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Old 17th January 2018, 6:49 PM   #12
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You know what a very effective, scientifically proven way to reduce your chances of contracting a contagious illness is?

Reducing your stress.

Have you ever sought professional help for your anxiety? Talked to someone to get some tools to control your mind when it starts jumping to what ifs and worse case scenarios?

You know what? I haven't had the flu in over a decade. And I can count on one had the number of times I have come down with a common cold in the same period.

You know what else? I ride public transport ion in a melting pot of 7 million people every day. Trains, buss, huge stations bustling with people - 5 days a week, several hours a day. And I still do not get sick.

Things that contribute to a strong immune system -these are SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN (unlike Echinacea):
  • Not overly stressed - my body isn't getting loaded up on the stress hormone cortisol which has shown to suppress the immune system.
  • Quality sleep - my body gets the restorative time it needs to build and repair
  • Exposure - yes exposure! I grew up playing in the dirt of barn yards. I am exposed to city and country life every day, along with all of the germs, pathogens etc those environments harbor. This gives my body the opportunity to build defenses. Those who limit their exposure to the extremes actually become more prone to infections.
  • Eat healthy, stay hydrated - Give your body the fuel it needs to build the defenses naturally. A balanced diet, low in sugars, high in fiber has shown to be benefical.
  • A healthy gut - a HUGE part of our immunity lies within the health of our guts. A healthy gut microbiotabiome is your partner against infection. Be sure to feed it well with quality foods, and prebiotics and probiotics if your diet is lacking.

That said, with this flu, yeah I am not thrilled when someone near me starts coughing, I hold my breath and move.... but no need for anxiety. No need for rage - those things would be counter productive, and damage my natural defenses anyway.

[post script, my sources? My parent is a PhD Pharmacist specializing in oncology (and thus understand the need for infection control for those with compromised immune systems) and my close friend is a PhD immunologist. But I could link to peer reviewed, published, scientific articles for each of the points I laid out].
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Old 17th January 2018, 6:55 PM   #13
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I don't mind getting sick; it's about the only time I can really take a break and sit around without feeling bad about doing so.


And since God loves irony, I think I have something like a thousand hours of sick leave banked.


OP, what is it exactly about being sick that bothers you the most?
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Old 17th January 2018, 7:00 PM   #14
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I don't mind getting sick; it's about the only time I can really take a break and sit around without feeling bad about doing so.

And since God loves irony, I think I have something like a thousand hours of sick leave banked.
GT, you always make me laugh - you know what? I had the same thought recently! I maxed out on sick time gees... more than 10 years ago (this is what happens when you take a sick day every 2-3 years), I thought, huh, if I got sick I could be in bed cuddling with my cat like my friends on FB have posted.

Then I thought, well if this flu is killing people - it doesn't sound like much fun. But then my mind went back to - a couple days in bed? I can't remember the last time I had that luxury!
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Old 17th January 2018, 7:03 PM   #15
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I don't mind getting sick; it's about the only time I can really take a break and sit around without feeling bad about doing so.


And since God loves irony, I think I have something like a thousand hours of sick leave banked.


OP, what is it exactly about being sick that bothers you the most?

LOL! Have you ever had the flu, though? It's awful! It feels like you're walking around with a cement block on your chest.

All these reports of deaths of healthy people scare me.

I'm also self employed with no "sick days" so there's that lol. If I don't work, I don't make money.
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