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OCD - fear of contamination
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OCD - fear of contamination

I have OCD. I have recently stopped taking my medication as I really hate taking them. I was ok for a while and now it has reappeared and in a bad way.

I am in a constant fear of contamination and if that isn't enough, I am afraid of chemicals in cleaning products and disinfectants to kill this contamination that I fear. Oh, I know, it's a viscious awful circle.

I know my thoughts are irrational. Totally. Even still, there seems to be a part of me that believes in them, because if I didn't why would they still be there?

I have rituals, that make no sense, that I superstisoulsly repeat because in my head this will help the outcome of the situation.

I am going back on my meds, this is a given.

Im just looking to see if there is anyone else out there that can relate, perhaps offer advice...
Tags: OCD, Fear, contamination, help
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Oh no...I hate the internet sometimes.  It just makes things worse.  Try getting the OCD Workbook:  Your Guide to breaking free of obsessive compulsive disorder or Self-Coaching by joseph Luciani.  You may want to start with the OCD workbook first.  

You are a classic what-if OCD person.  I know it all too well.  My meds take this away for me and I'm sure when you build them back up in your system you will be better.  We are intelligent people and it is hard to believe that we can be taken down by our own minds.  But you know what, we are strong as well.  I mean otherwise we'd be in a corner sucking our thumbs so don't forget that.  

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1699033_tn?1405352675
The advice I would have given is what you are already doing which is going back on your medication.  

I myself have been on meds, gone off and then back on again.  I had a good number of years being medication free but not OCD free.  I think that at that particular time in my life I had less stressors and therefore my OCD never became off the hook and I know you know what "off the hook means."

There are lots of tools and I'm sure you know them all by now but sometimes they just don't work well when in the thick of it all.  It is incredible what my mind has conjured up over the years as something I should step and take notice of.  All stupid, irrational thoughts that I am well aware of as being such but can't stop thinking about them.  You name it, I have catastrophized it.  

When on meds, are you pretty much OCD free?  I find that I can let things go on meds.  I still think those stupid thoughts but I can say "whatever" and they magically go away most likely because I'm not sitting there fighting the thought tooth and nail.  A good "whatever" and off it goes.  

Take care and thanks for posting to others.  It is good for people to get several opinions.  :)  
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Avatar_m_tn
I am an OCD patient too.. I am going through lot because of OCD..I was o meds for a while and then when I started to feel better I stopped for a while and things went pretty bad. Now I am getting back on medication. I have all kind of rituals and atleast 4 hours a day i am spending doing rituals and people feel I am silly sometimes.

I want to lead a normal life and I want to get reid of OCD I am struggling every day but I will fight it. I will..Please be strong and we will get rid of OCD someday soon..

GOD Bless
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1699033_tn?1405352675
I'm sure once the meds have kicked back in you will feel much better.  They obviously worked for you in the past.  

As far as people thinking you are silly...well they just don't understand.  Really nobody does unless they have this disorder.  While I don't perform rituals, I can understand your need to do them just because I too have OCD.  What we need from others is support.  They don't have to understand but they need to be supportive. I mean really, if we had the power on our own to stop this behavior, dont they think we would?  It's not our fault our brain chemistry is wired differently.  My husband fits into this category and NOW he is supportive.  He knows after 23 years he didn't marry a loony-toones.  He knows I am a great mother, very successful at work, but I just have my OCD moments.  Before we go on any vacation he knows I have to check everything, sometimes more than once.  So he will say "we will be waiting in the car, go and do what you have to do." Support, that is all we ask for.  

Take care and keep us posted on your progress back toward leading a life ritual-free.  :)  
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much for your support. I am also going through a tough time in my personal life and I am about to break up with my GF soon with whom I am living together for a while.She is very supportive but we are two different people and I feel strongly to break the relationship as it is not going to work out in the long run.

I am far away from my family and I am all alone in this country and my OCD is giving me hardest time of my life. I am not sure if I am doing the right thing of breaking her heart and my guilt is punishing me in the form of OCD.

I have reached a point where I am spending 3 to 4 hours a day on my OCD rituals. I do not have enough money to seek psychiatrist help. I am just hanging there believing in GOD.

I am fighting against OCD everyday every moment. It is of great help talking to people on this forum. Thank you
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My husband as well tries to be as supportive of me as he possibly can be, he also tries to not "give in" to my ridiculous thoughts, because he feels that by doing so he is encouraging the thoughts to continue. For example, I feel that after putting wet clothes from  the washing machine to the dryer, one should wash their hands. He says "the clothes are clean". He tries to understand that nothing is ever clean to me, but he can't. There is no understanding because he doesn't have OCD. One can try to understand us and what we are going through, but it just won't work.

I agree that we need support, definately we need support. I need constant reassurance for my fears, and by this point most people, including coworkers think I am a little loopy. I have constant nagging fears about them most impossible things, but in my mind if there is a slight teeny tiny weeny little bit of possibility, it is going to happen for certain to me. My latest freak out was this am as I was on my way to work and i take public transport. I am wearing a pair of leggings with a long shirt, the shirt is not long enough to cover my bum entierly when I sit and I discovered today at work when I bend over you can see rghtthrough my leggings, which leads me to believe that I might as well have just sat bare bummed on the metro and that I know am going to catch lord knows what. I realize that this is insane. I also realize that skin acts as a barrier for germs and I also realize that if I did sit on anything that did get on my skin, it is not anything that will kill me. But yet, here I am stressing over it. I keep thinking to myself, you idiot how could you have done something so stupid etc, etc.
When I was on my meds, I was able to push the thoughts out of my mind when I had them, providing that they were illogical thoughts. I know that I need to get back on them, and I hate that realization. I know that at this point they over take my life and will only cause damage to other relasionships down the line.
We just have to stay tough.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Stressors definitely make living with OCD tough.  I read this book called self-coaching by Joseph Luciani (in case you've got an e-reader and want to download it) and I found it to be really insightful.  For OCD people it is all about control.  We want to control everything in our lives and when we can't we go off into that viscious cycle of thinking.  We want to control what happens now, we want to see into the future and prepare for any eventuality which in our minds is usually a catastrophic one.  

That is what you are doing lola when you asked your husband to wash his hands after he puts the clothes in the dryer.  What you need to do is turn that around and say to yourself, "at least he is doing the laundry"  I don't like the way my husband does it either.  Makes the piles too small so uses too much water and after having just replaced our entire septic system (which BTW is what send me careening off the cliff that is OCD and back onto medication) I had a hard time with that.  But I kept my mouth shut and I just reminded myself that that was at least one thing I don't have to be responsible for once in a while.  I no longer even care.  

FA-OCD, well breaking up with your long-time girlfriend that you are living with, talk about a stressor in your life...its a whopper.  No wonder you are having problems.  I hope things go well and that you are relieved and happy again.  

I'm glad you both are going back on meds.  Try the book if you think it may help.  It did open my eyes quite a bit.  Also there is the OCD workbook:  your guide to breaking from of obsessive compulstive disorder that people talk very highly of.  I have never read this book but I'm seriously thinking about getting it.  

Take care...both of you :)  
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Lola and thank you JFG for sharing your thoughts.

Lola,

I have the biggest fear of sitting everywhere. I cannot sit on any public place.If I sit on any chair then I freak out. It is not one day thing for me and I am going through it every day.

I do it even when I sit in my girlfriend's car. I will make sure that nothing pointed items are on the seat. I always lock the car door even for 2 mins.My GF gets very annoyed sometimes but she understands.

I have OCD of HIV and I fear about contamination all time. I cannot stand in the line if someone is standing behind me. I think they are always going to poke me with something. I fear everything in life. I sometimes feel I have become less productive at work.I am stressed out on OCD for most part of my day.

I am going through the toughest time of my life. I don't need anything fancy in my life, I don't want to be rich. I want to lead a normal human life. I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this because I have struggled for 15 years and still going on.

GOD  please help us all. OCD will kill a person slowly. I want to fight back and as I said I am going through some personal problem too. My GF is an awesome person but our lives are so different and that is the only reason I am breaking up with her. I am not able to handle the pressure and my OCD has shot up.

I fear of the after effects of break up and I am on debt. I have stress at work.  My parents know nothing abt all this. I wish some angel can walk down and rescue me. I can't write any more.....
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I feel for you, I really and truly do.

Contamination fear is, in my mind, one of the worst things to fear, because let's face it, it's almost impossible to avoid. And that is what makes this fear almost crippling. But it doesn't have to be this way. There is a way to live a "normal" life. Sure we may think things through a little bit more than the average person, but we can still live happily and without these obsessions.

I tried to stay off the meds, I really did. The issue I have is that when taking them I feel better after time and I am able to be less obsessive much much less stressed. I can eat, I can sleep and I am happy. Then I make the choiceto stop the meds, in this case because I was thinking about a baby, and in a few months (7 to be exact) I find myself stressed out, panicking and worrying all over again. The weight loss has started, the thoughts won't go away, and I am again washing my hands and fearing the worst at every turn, I too, am afraid of HIV or HCV infection, but I cannot let it rule my life, I just cannot.

Breaking up with your live in girlfriend, cannot be easy. I have been there and I know the heart ache it can cause. I also understand the guilt associated with it, add OCD to the mix and it only gets worse. Much much worse. In the end you know what you need to do. If you feel that you need to end this and move on then you need to do that, not only for you, but for her sake as well. It will not be easy, but if you know it is what needs to be done and it is for the best, then you know that you have to do it, and move on. Of course, easier said than done. You know you will make it through and use that knowledge when you need it the most.
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Nicely said Lola to fightagainst OCD.  If you want to talk about pregnancy and OCD, you can PM me.  It was the first real crisis (I hate the word breakdown) that I had.  I have 17 and 15 year old boys.  

FightagainstOCD, you just need to hang in there until the meds start working for you.  I don't have a fear of contamination generally so while I can understand and sympathize with you and Lola I cannot really offer any advice other than you have to keep getting out there no matter what and it seems like the both of you don't let this stop you from doing things.  

I did have HIV anxiety and my answer was to sit in an AIDS clinic on my lunch hour for several weeks.  It made me realize that I can't get it from sitting in a chair, or touching a magaine, or being in a room where someone was coughing, sneezing, etc.  The exposure therapy really helped me.  
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I know that I could not handle exposure therapy at this point.

I found an odd mark on my step sons shorts this evening after doing a load of laundry.. resembled almost a bleach stain but I couldnt be sure so I attempted to scrub it out in the kitchen sink.. it definately got lighter so it is not bleach... but then I began to wonder what it is. And now I am convinced that it is blood and that I have contaminated myself, the washer the dryer and the few pieces of cutlery that were in the sink with Hepatitis C because I am fairly certain that HIV would not survive the wash. Why would there be Hep C blood on the shorts and not say dried spaghetti sauce or whatever else kids manage to get on themselves... good question. I think he wore them to the gym where my husnand takes him sometimes to do fighr training, wrestling etc.. my husband says he wasnt wearing shorts.. I say he wouldn't remember (which is very true) and now I am up and googling the color of dried blood putting myself in a panic and my husband through what I know is insanity... sigh.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Oh no...I hate the internet sometimes.  It just makes things worse.  Try getting the OCD Workbook:  Your Guide to breaking free of obsessive compulsive disorder or Self-Coaching by joseph Luciani.  You may want to start with the OCD workbook first.  

You are a classic what-if OCD person.  I know it all too well.  My meds take this away for me and I'm sure when you build them back up in your system you will be better.  We are intelligent people and it is hard to believe that we can be taken down by our own minds.  But you know what, we are strong as well.  I mean otherwise we'd be in a corner sucking our thumbs so don't forget that.  

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Thank you for that JGF, you are right, we ARE strong. Becuase if we weren't we would be MUCH worse off that we are right now.

I am classic what-if. My whole life is what-if. And knowledge, I am obessesed with it. I have to know what everything is and how it works and if is toxic or contagious etc. As I mentioned I do not know what that stain is on my step son's shorts and that makes me crazy, probaly because it opens up to the what-if's because when you don't know what it is in my mind it could be anything... ok who am I kidding it is not just anything it is the worst case scenario.

I will defiantely get that book. Anything helps at this point.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
But deep down inside, you know that stain is nothing and that is what you have to remind yourself of.  I cannot tell you how many times I yell at myself in my head to JUST FLIPPIN LET IT GO, ENOUGH ALREADY!  

If you get the OCD workbook, let me know how it is.  I have not read that one but I have been seriously thinking about getting it.  

Take care.  
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2083175_tn?1336085912
You'd like to think deep down I know that it is nothing, but I cannot be sure... Ya you're probably right... I do know it is nothing. If I had thought it was I wouldn't have rubbed it with my finger nail and then put it in the sink. It would have went in the trash. Plus let's be logical (haha if only) blood would not show up as lighter stain on black especially after a wash in hot water.... but oh logic has nothing to do with this.
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Avatar_m_tn
I know what your mind is making byou think lola. Please let it go and you are fine. As I am writing thins,I am worrying myself abt few things that happened today..But I am making sure that I will stop thinking about it. I think we both are on the same boat.

We cannot let our mind rule us. Yes we have some chemical imbalance in the brain but that should not stop us from leading a simple normal life.I feel for you as I understand your pain.

I pray to GOD to give us strength to overcome this OCD. Please continue your meds and hope it will help us pretty soon.

Take care and feel free to msg me back anytime you feel like. Sometimes while you share your thoughts it will make you feel better.
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Thank you very much. I apprecitate that.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am pregnant and Dr wanted me off meds and I am reaaly struggling with my ocd...i am sooo scared of contamination that I wash repeatedly.  I also what if everything and recheck alot!  Im really having a hard time!  I get soo upset over it...i just want to be normal!  Any suggestions on how to get thru this?
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Avatar_m_tn
Please try to relax and calm down.Try some meditation and try to enjoy everyday of life.We are loosing every precious day of our life think "What If"..
Please enjoy your life...talk to people and if you don't find anyone to talk to, please come back to the forum and post your question. We will all try to respond which will help you...

Take care. GOD bless
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2083175_tn?1336085912
I will be starting my meds this week and I hope I will be back to "normal" soon.
I what if everything all the time. I do not have people over to my house because I don't want them to contaminate it. I am living in a bubble and trying to keep it clean and safe.
The truth is that we cannot keep everything safe. What is contaminated in our minds is nothing to someone else. I use that to keep me in check. I often ask my husband, am I over reacting and he will answer me honestly and that does help me feel a little but better at the time. Its all about perspective and ours is off. That is what is important to remember.
I too would love to feel normal. I find that deep breathing helps, and keeping myself and my mind busy also helps. Hot showers relax me. Sometimes just cuddling with my husband makes me feel safe and I can let go of those thoughts for a few minutes. Relaxation is key. It puts the mind at ease and that releases the negative thoughts.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank u so much!  I just need to figure out how to convince myself that the thoughts in my head didn't happen.  I can think I got contaminated and really believe it even though I never touched whatever it is...how to I stop believing these thoughts??  I just feel like I have to shower over and over but still don't feel clean enough.  What is wrong with me...i feel soooo crazy!  I just want to be happy and enough my life and family!
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2083175_tn?1336085912
I hear that! I always feel the need to shower or wash my hands. I too can make up risk factors that make no sense. I feel the need to wash all my laundry twice although I don't. Nothing ever feels clean, Everything is contaminated and it is very hard to live like this. In therapy they told me to confront my fears and when nothing bad happened then I could let that one go, sure but the anxiety getting to that point is hard to deal with.
There is nothing wrong with you, its OCD and it happens to the best of us we are living proof of that :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank u!  I.feel exactly the same way!  I an going back to therapy esp since I cannot take meds now! .i really hope she can help me! for soooo long I felt so alone..I'm sorry u and other s are going thru this too but I'm glad to not be alone!  Its hard when no one understand s what u are going thru!
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2083175_tn?1336085912
It is next to impossible to deal when people don't understand what you are going through. It is not an easy thing to deal with in the first place and it is even more difficult given that most people cannot begin to understand. They wash their hands, they are clean. They didn't touch a contaminate they know that they are fine. I wish that I could think this way, but I simply cannot. I won't give up trying though, that much is for sure. I have started back on my meds and so far so good... I used to have very bad  side affects and so far so good *fingers crossed* I am just really tired as I was unable to sleep for a few days.. ok so some side affects, but nothing unbearable.
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel exactly the same!  it is really.hard when people dont understand!  I want to get to point where I feel normal and dont have.to stress about this!  I have an appt for.therapist n I will get on meds as soon as I can but cant now!  I hope the meds continue.to help u!  Good luck!!  
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Hi there.  I know exactly what you are going through because I had the same problem with my first pregnancy.  How far along are you?  
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Avatar_f_tn
Its really hard!  Im 23 wks!  How did u get thru it?   Im going to breastfeed but I hope I can get back on meds
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Bravo for you!!!!!  The truth is I didn't get through it so you are doing great!  After 12 weeks I had to go on medication during my first pregnancy.  For my second, I just stayed on a low dose of medication the entire time.  I didn't breastfeed because I was taking meds.  There are many people on the Anxiety forum that have posted about being pregnant and having tremendous anxiety.  Many of them got through it.  You are more than half way there.  Really, you may not feel strong right now but you really are a very strong woman.  

This is the thing, there is your health and then there is the health of the baby.  If either one is being severely compromised, then that is a problem.  You mentioned going to therapy and I think that will help you tremendously.  

Also, try to pick up the book The OCD Workbook:  Your Guide to Breaking Free from OCD.  It may teach you some tricks to deal with the contamination thought you have.  Also there is another book by Joseph Luciani called Self-Coaching.  This book explains how to self-motivate yourself.  Yell at yourself if you have to...get mad.  Say STOP at the top of your lungs if that makes you feel better.  

Keep us posted...
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank u sooo much!  I wish I felt strong...I feel sooo weak!  I am trying sooo hard to be healthy for my baby!  And I know these thoughts are sooo stupid and make no sense...but its like I can't escape them!  
Thank u for the book advice....I ordered both of them!  I will try anything to get better...hoping this and therapy helps!  

Thanks!
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Avatar_f_tn
God I hear ya!! I said the very same thing just the other day, " I just want a normal life".  We would give anything not to have this crippling illness.  I too have a constant fear of hiv and contaminating everything and in turn contaminating my loved ones.  I spend 90 % of my time cleaning and seeking reassurance.  The thoughts of not doing the compulsions sends me into a panic attack.  There have been a few times including today that I have told myself I want out! Today was the closest I ever came because I just wanted to go asleep and never wake up!!  I am struggling at the moment so I can't really give u advice, but sometimes it just helps a tiny bit to know that someone out there understands exactly what you're feeling.  I'm sorry u feel you have to let go of your relationship.  I tried to do it but my partner wouldn't leave and I suppose part of me wasn't brave enough to push him away hard enough though believe me I tried.  I will admit that even though he is a rock sometimes, other times he just adds to my problems because  feel I have to protect him aswell.  There have been times I have resented him for triggering off a problem.  As a couple, the only thing we ever really fight about (and fight about a lot) is my ocd.  So if you're not too deep in the relationship, I think it's a wise move to let it go and work on YOU and try and get the help you need now so that your future relationships can be about love and happiness together.  Lets hope we can both get through it and actually feel the joys of life again...
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Avatar_f_tn
I have this, too, but meds never seem to take it away. They might help me sleep a bit better, but they dont' do much for the OCD,..and I've been on almost all of them. :-(  Which ones help you?
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Avatar_f_tn
My OCD takes really crazy forms.. I fear chemicals that are known carcinogens...particularly termite pesticide. (It started when I heard about the dangers years ago, and my aunt had her house treated. Then she died a few years later of cancer.) So my fears aren't related to dirt..but to things that might cause cancer. And my OCD is so bad, I start thinking "maybe I got some of those chemicals in a pest control truck on me or brought them in the house or put them in my purse ..and I just can't remember it". Or I invent the image of me getting this stuff on me  in my head. It's totally nuts, but it makes me afraid of so many things in my apartment (like my shoes, purse, computer case,etc) that might have gotten contaminated. I wish medication was a significant help for me, but it isn't -- and I've tried all the commonly used meds. I'm beginning to think i"m a hopeless case or need brain surgery or something. I just feel like giving up. Thanks for listening.
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2083175_tn?1336085912
Hey Lily,

I suggest that you post this comment as a new question so other's can help you.

I understand how you feel, my OCD takes on different hats. Sometimes it is germs, sometimes it is chemicals... imagine being afiraid of germs and afriad of the chemicals to kill them. Fun times.
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Avatar_n_tn
Okay, so OCD wastes a lot of time and keeps us anxious.  But a good counselor once told me, "everything depends on the degree..." meaning, a LITTLE OCD can make you good at professions that involve conscientious checking, for example. And--a LITTLE paranoia could make you a good detective--etc. etc.  If it gets hugely out of control of course it just takes over our lives.  I've got mine down to manageable levels now and you can too!  Don't worry about "wiping it out completely."   That'll only add more stress.  Just get it to manageable levels, I say.  After all, OCD and panic and all that actually has some evolutionary advantage.  We --the extra careful ones--will avoid danger better than those who blithely ignore danger.  Unless you wash your hands to the point you damage them, for instance. conscientious hand washing could indeed help us get fewer colds.  We may be obsessive--but there could in some cases be some actual benefit from our excessive avoidance of danger!  
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