Emetophobia and working at a nursing home....

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Joe90
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26 Dec 2013, 8:38 am

I have emetophobia to the point where I consider it as a label. My fear of vomiting is just beastly. I have a very small esophagus, which makes vomiting even more petrifying because I strain my stomach really bad and it's something that I just cannot handle. I also have a fear of diarrhoea too, because those stomach cramps you get with it are so horrible. I haven't had one of these bugs in over 12 years.

But for the last 2 weeks there has been a terrible sickness and diarrhoea bug going around at the nursing home, where I work as a cleaner. I have been there over a year and this is the first time I have faced this kind of epidemic, and it seems to be ongoing. One resident after another seems to be throwing up, even the ones that don't mix and mainly sit in their rooms have been getting it too, so it must be one of those strong bugs what's quite irresistible to the immune system. Some of the staff have been off with it too, but thankfully not many of us have. I've been trying to get out of being in part of the building where I've got to clean vomit and diarrhoea up, but I'm so scared that a day is going to come where I can't get out of it. I have told people that I have this debilitating phobia, some understand but some are abrupt and just say ''well it's part of the job'', and I know that is true but I'm finding it hard to accept it. I just hate sick, and that's all there is to it.

I just want this to be over. What if it's so strong that it goes all around the home all over again? Just yesterday a resident was sick all over herself and the floor in the canteen, but nobody heard her being sick, a carer just found her like it. And that was when the residents were all eating. What if it goes around all over again? Then I'd have to endure another fortnight of this, and I can't keep finding ways to get out of it over and over again, otherwise I'm going to end up getting myself the sack or something. I'm so terrified. I am going to look for another job but it is a difficult time at the moment right on top of Christmas. I'm getting rather desperate though, as I can't cope with sickness. I can clean up diarrhoea if I know it isn't a bug, but I just cannot going near any stomach virus germs, otherwise I just freak out. How would you feel? Is there anyone here with Emetophobia?


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franknfurter
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26 Dec 2013, 9:02 am

that quite literally sounds like my worst nightmare. I commend you for handling as you have so far, if it were me I would have refused to even go to work for fear of catching the bug.

I take great lengths to avoid jobs where that kind of thing might be necessary. as for what to do about it, I know how scared you must be and that saying that its not going to hurt you actually does not help because its an irrational fear.

haah to be honest I am a bit creeped out just because you live in the UK, winter is honestly the worst time of year for emetaphobics.

I really empathise completely with what you are going through. but you will never have no choice whether to clean it up, you can always escape by running away if you have to, people at your work should understand, maybe however it might be best to try and look for a job where cleaning up things is not going to happen


I am also emataphobic, quite severely so, do you have panic attacks?



zer0netgain
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26 Dec 2013, 9:10 am

Wow. Not really the right job for you, is it?

As a janitor, I had to clean up blood, vomit and feces...sometimes all at the same time.

I'd suggest getting proper sanitation gear (disposable coveralls, disposable gloves, breathing mask with eye shield, etc.). If you have to deal with a "bodily fluids" mess, insist on gearing up. Believe it or not, you won't catch anything just because some blood, vomit or poop gets on your skin, but perhaps that layer of extra protection will help bolster your courage when dealing with it.



Joe90
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26 Dec 2013, 9:50 am

Usually things what I've got to clear up doesn't worry me. I have had to wipe blood up before because somebody had cut their arm and there was blood everywhere. I did not wear any gloves and just done it happily. Also I have literally picked up a bit of poop up off the floor without any gloves on, then I realised what it was, went, ''urgh!'', and washed my hands. But I wasn't fearful.

I only get 100% fearfully health-conscious when it comes to stomach bugs spreading. I had to take this job because it was the only job I finally got offered after 4 years of being on unemployment benefits, which I hated being on. I didn't think of things like that. Last December there was norovirus going around, but not at the nursing home I work at. There was about 3 cases of vomiting but that was it, so I thought maybe that would be it if we're all really clean. But this year it has really made me open my eyes and know that I should not be working somewhere where sickness and diarrhoea goes around. I know you can catch it anywhere but you're more at risk when cooped up in a building where it's spreading. It also plays on your mind more.

I have had a panic attack twice, by bursting into tears. I know some people there might think that I'm overreacting, but I can't help it. I have Emetophobia, and I feel the same as somebody may feel if they had a fear of flying and they had to get on a plane.


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ChrisP
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26 Dec 2013, 10:52 am

The thing is, this phobia is far from irrational. Sure, you have a phobia as real as the fear of flying would be for someone else, but you are sensible enough to know that you have a much higher chance of catching this bug than they have of their plane crashing into a mountain! Respect to you for coping this far: all I can advise is that you take all sensible precautions, and then that you keep your own immune system in the best order possible for the next couple of months - good food, enough sleep, possibly vitamin C? People in care homes tend to be there because they are frail and ill, so compromised immune systems will be the norm - looking after your own immune system will significantly lower the risk of you getting this virus.



Joe90
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26 Dec 2013, 11:19 am

Well I do eat a lot of fruit, including bananas, which I have read is very good for the immune system. I don't smoke or drink. I get enough sleep. But despite all of that, I did catch a bad cold about 2 weeks ago, and also quite a bad cough with it - and I haven't had a cough in years. So my immune system obviously did not fight that off. I just hope it won't be the same with this bug at the home. Unless coughs and colds are a different thing. But give me a cough any day, I'd rather have a chesty cough than catch a stomach bug.

There are some residents at the home who haven't been ill at all since I've been working there, not even with the slightest sniffle. They're the ones that just have the early stages of Alzheimer's but are still physically high-functioning and can walk up and down the stairs quick and only have one type of medication a day, which is to do with the Alzheimer's, but otherwise need no other medication. But even they have picked the bug up. Mind you, I think most of them is just a 24-hour bug, which is easier to fight off. It's the more frail residents that keep puking and having diarrhoea everywhere and is harder to clean up which is the worst to avoid.

It is still off-putting though.


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26 Dec 2013, 4:09 pm

If it is the winter vomit virus then my advice is to be careful, it is a nasty pathogen.

My advice is to cover as much of your body in plastic suiting before you deal with vomit or body fluids of anyone who has it. Also mask up as it can form aerosols which get in the air.

Also be very careful when degloving and removing your protective clothing, you need to avoid touching the contaminated surfaces during the doffing process. Also bear in mind that alcohol based gels do not work on winter vomit virus.


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26 Dec 2013, 4:25 pm

I have emetophobia. I am terrified of vomiting. Its one of my worst phobias along with the fear of bees. Last night I came close to vomiting. So I went to sleep extra early and took some pills that is supposed to stop the nausea. On top of that I had this nasty headache. I don't know if it was a migraine or not.



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27 Dec 2013, 2:58 am

I have emetophobia too. My family members getting the bug is the worst, because then I know I can't escape it. Thankfully it hasn't happened in 7 years. I am a little worried though, because so many members on this site have recently mentioned a stomach virus affecting them or their loved ones. I know that very few people on this site live where I live, but I have this irrational, superstitious fear that if enough people mention a stomach virus, then I will be more likely to come down with it, no matter where they live. *knocks on wood*



franknfurter
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27 Dec 2013, 9:56 am

IdahoRose wrote:
I have emetophobia too. My family members getting the bug is the worst, because then I know I can't escape it. Thankfully it hasn't happened in 7 years. I am a little worried though, because so many members on this site have recently mentioned a stomach virus affecting them or their loved ones. I know that very few people on this site live where I live, but I have this irrational, superstitious fear that if enough people mention a stomach virus, then I will be more likely to come down with it, no matter where they live. *knocks on wood*


that's what i am like, i am worried about family coming over for that reason near Christmas, so many people who could potentially spread it around.