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Information for Individuals

Fear of Contamination

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Read the article: Stronger Than Dirt - OCD and Contamination

A fear of contamination and germs can include obsessional fears about:

  • Touching surfaces (in public places or at home) that may be thought to have germs on them
  • Touching others or being touched by others or animals
  • Being coughed or sneezed on by others or being in a public place or a vehicle where this could occur (such as in a carpool, bus or airplane)
  • Contaminating others by touching them
  • Wearing clothing that has come in contact with germs

Some OCD compulsions that are commonly seen with contamination obsessions are:

  • Washing and cleaning, such as excessive house cleaning, repeated hand washing, showering or bathing
  • Avoiding public places or public transportation
  • Avoiding being touched by others or touching others
  • Frequently changing clothing or even throwing away clothing that is considered “contaminated.”
  • Avoiding certain rooms in the home that are thought to be contaminated.

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