There are dozens of different types of phobias that humans develop. Some are developed during the childhood and some are suddenly spiked when one encounters the cause. Many people have certain phobias but they may not be aware because the causes are not yet known. Someone living inland with no access to water bodies may not even know that he or she is afraid of the seas until the person visits the coast or a large lake. Such a fear is known as thalassophobia. Some phobias are substantiated and thus understandable. Some are not substantiated. There are cases of people being afraid of water in general. It is known as aquaphobia.
Like all other fears, there is a fear of germs. The fear of germs phobia is known as mysophobia. This phobia is particularly interesting because it can be substantiated and yet it can be related to obsessive compulsive disorders. Thus, this phobia can be classified as substantiated and unsubstantiated. The fear of germs phobia is also known as verminophobia.
The term mysophobia has its roots in Greek words musos and phobos. Musos literally means uncleanness and phobos means fear. There are many alternate names or terms for mysophobia. There are some colloquial names used quite often, such as germophobia or germaphobia, both combining the words germs and phobia. Colloquial names bacillophobia or bacteriophobia are also used to describe the fear of germs phobia. While both names essentially mean fear of bacteria or pathogens, it is used broadly to describe germs.
Mysophobia is most commonly characterized by an obsession of washing one’s hands again and again, cleaning everything even when everything is clean or has been cleaned just a while back, not using stuffs that have been used by others, at least not without cleaning them first even when they don’t need cleaning at all and an unwillingness and absolute terrifying rigidness or rejection to using public places, restrooms or anything that has the slightest inkling or connection to dirt, germs, pathogens or any material that is considered unclean or has the possibility of being unclean.
Realistically, nothing is spotlessly clean. There is always some dirt or some microorganisms in everything and everyone. Nowhere in the world is even an ounce of air completely pure or water for that matter. But the humans can withstand or resist certain amount of dirt, germs and harmful pathogens as well. It is this awareness or realization that doesn’t dawn on people who have the fear of germs phobia. It is also due to this reason that mysophobia is mostly associated with or described as an obsessive compulsive disorder.