5 Tips for Dealing With Emetophobia Over Winter

Winter is a tough time for people living with emetophobia - vomit phobia. Read my tips on keeping sane and happy during the norovirus news and bug season.

5 Tips for Dealing With Emetophobia Over Winter

Hey there and welcome. It’s that time of the year again. Colds, flu and stomach bugs. Well, in reality it’s always that time of the year. Bugs don’t stop just because the weather gets a bit warmer. But we typically do see an increase in these types of illness during winter time. Confined spaces? Buffet food?! And for anyone living with emetophobia – fear of vomiting – it can be tough.

I’ve written a few times now about emetophobia – being a mum with emet, having kids when you have a vomit phobia, and then how to help a child who might have emet. Today I’m sharing a few things that have helped me over the 30+ years living with emet. These tips aren’t going to stop you getting ill. I can’t promise that. But they’ve certainly helped me when things were tough.

Proper Hand Washing

I can’t stress this enough. Hand washing. And not just a quick wiggle under the water. Instead take time to wash your hands properly when preparing food or eating. And after you come inside after being out and about. And remember it’s not about using anti-bacterial soaps and all that fancy stuff. It’s about washing germs “off” your hands. So any soap will do. Make sure you wash for around the amount of time it takes to sing the happy birthday song.

proper hand washing in winter to fight norovirus

Don’t Rely on Hand Sanitizer

Yes they are great for keeping in your handbag while out and about but remember that they are no substitute for proper hand washing. And a lot of them are anti-bacterial. Flu is a virus. Norovirus is a…yep, virus.

There are some hand sanitizers out there that kill viruses too but honestly, I haven’t researched this lately enough to recommend any. I believe the active ingredient needed to kill norovirus is Benzalkonium Chloride. So at least look out for that, not just alcohol-based hand gels.


This isn’t something I’d typically recommend. In fact it does nothing but further reassure an emetophobe that avoidance is a good tactic. And overall it isn’t. But honestly, if I know someone is ill then yep, I’m not coming near them. Arranged a play date for your kids? Their friend has been sick? Yep, I cancel.

proper hand washing in winter to fight norovirus

Wear Gloves

I don’t mean the plastic type. If you travel on public transport a lot then your luck is in because winter is the ideal time to wear a pair of gloves. Not only do they keep your hands toasty, but they also avoid touching multiple surfaces while out and about.

Put it into Perspective

Speaking as a vomit phobic mum, sickness bugs are literally my worst nightmare. A few years ago though, when I was at my lowest with emetophobia, I read a headline which made my stomach drop with fear –2 Million Brits Suffer with Winter Vomiting Bug – or something along those lines. Two Million! It was bound to get me. I literally sat at my desk most days worrying and stressing about catching norovirus.

You know the type of headline too right? The type the Daily Mail like to publish.

Anyways it got me thinking…the UK has a population of around 66 million people. So that’s an awful lot of people who DIDN’T get the winter vomiting bug. I know during the thick of it, when everyone around you seems to be updating their Facebook status with vomit tales, it isn’t that easy to put things into perspective. But remember that it isn’t “all around you”. Yes it might happen. Yes it would be really shitty but there are many, many Brits who don’t get ill over winter.

keeping safe this winter when emetophobia - norovirus

I really should take my own advice because lately I’ve been struggling with emet woes and worries. Maybe it’s to do with the pregnancy and the fact I’m off medication. And maybe it’s because it is “that time of the year” again. Urgh, good luck my friends.

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Living with emetophobia and how to cope with panic and anxiety through winter months and norovirus season

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