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Trying to head off germ-health-sickness obsessions and fears


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Dd9 is currently in a flare that's resulted from a cold that's running though our house (son had it first, then dd, then husband, now I have a sore throat). She hasn't ever really had germ/contamination fears before, since her Pans onset in Oct 2013, her focus has been choking & swallowing, along with high anxiety, raging, skin picking, odd, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some symptoms, but regardless, she's never exhibited fears or obsessions related to germs, etc. before this past week.

 

How to deal with this in the middle of cold & flu season? I try not to make a big deal about anything, but it's important to wash hands, be cautious of germs, keeping hands out if mouth, etc. -- especially for her, because she flares when she has a cold! I feel like I'm walking a thin line whenever I say anything to her, and she's suddenly very touchy about health, sickness, bodily harm coming to her. She was at a roller skating party the other day, and she told me that she "was hungry but that it was really dirty there". Well, I gotta be honest, it really was dirty there! Of course, I brushed the comment off and told her it was fine, but I can't always do that. I don't want to feed her fears, which I fear are escalating at this point, but there is a absolutely a need for caution in public places right now.

 

Any suggestions regarding this type of obsession in general? This is a new one for us. I'm really, really hoping that this will diminish as her cold improves-- but not sure how to handle in the meantime.

 

Thanks!

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Germ fears are one of my sons biggest fears. He won't eat food cooked by anybody he doesn't know well, because he doesn't know how clean they are. He washes his hands two or three times before he eats, and he always worries about getting sick. Yes, I have always said to wash hands and stuff, but kids hear this stuff everyday. Doctors tell kids, "wash your hands". Teachers are constantly spraying Lysol, and handing out sanitizer. There are signs in restrooms saying wash hands. Yes, this is a difficult cod behavior to stop. How do you say, oh, you'll be fine, or it will be ok. When everywhere you go there is sanitizer. Even tv commercials saying to avoid flu you must wash hands. I hate to say it but in a way if you are trying to head this off you are almost fighting a losing battle.

 

With my son I know this is ocd, and I know it can turn really extreme, but as long as it doesn't interfere with his life in a major way, then I am almost ok with this one if it will help keep him from getting another virus and flairing again. I know this one is a double edge sword.

Edited by missmom
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I am now catching the cold that is going around, and I mentioned it casually, saying I didn't feel very well, and dd said "can you not touch me then?" --I almost cried. I am envisioning this new fear spinning out of control, and I just can't imagine going there....

 

What I mean by heading this off, is how do I not enable ocd on this subject, and still keep her as "germ safe" as possible? She is flairing because of the cold she has, and I've mentioned in the past that she needs to be careful about germs because of her immune disorder, but germs/cleanliness/sickness has never been an ocd issue until now. I'll take this over her previous (and not completely resolved) fears of choking and swallowing for sure, but I don't want it to escalate to a point where she doesn't want me touching her either! :(

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I got the nasty cold last week as well and I kept my distance from my son while I didn't feel well, but I also reassured him that I did not have fever and I was prob not contagious at that point but I still " kept my distance for a couple days. I also reassured him that he is on abx so at least he is somewhat protected just in case it was bacterial. He did not catch whatever I had. I wouldn't make a big deal about it, and just see if she gets over this one in a few days. Try not to stress out just yet, you will run yourself down making your own immune system vulnerable. I'm sure she will be fine. Happy thoughts. Merry Christmas.

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Ugh... Our DD went through a time when I could not touch her AND she needed me with her much of the time. It was so difficult for both of us. We are a hugging family. If I even accidentally touched her, she would freak out and go into various rituals to make it not "bad". I slept on the floor in her room many nights because she couldn't be alone, had to be in her bed, and couldn't let me sleep with her in her double bed. For DD, it was often about "chemicals" and not germs. Her OCD considered many soaps, perfumes, lotions, and cleaning supplies dangerous chemicals--partly because they simply could be if you accidentally got them in your eyes or mouth, but also because the OCD irrationality argued horrible circular "What if...and then this..." scenarios. If we tried to tell her something was not dangerous, she would want to know if I would be worried if she ate it or drank it... Then we were in a similar situation to yours--it's safe, but not.

 

Since then DD and DH and I have learned a lot about OCD, CBT/ERP, and patience. If or when DD gets in to that kind of thinking again, we can more easily identify it out loud as OCD thinking. We can talk about it and not become too engaged in arguing with the OCD--for the most part.

 

I pray this passes quickly for you both.

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Sickness/germ/throwing up/health fears continuing and escalating. :( more and more hand washing, "what if" questions, vague but frequent complaints of "stomach aches" and "headaches" and "funny taste in my mouth", etc. not improving, but still has a cold too, sneezing, etc and I'm still holding onto hope that this will pass.

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