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Word of Mouth
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8cd30001A blog featuring the work and work life of NHPR's interns and fellows.

Famous Germaphobes

anyjazz65 via flickr Creative Commons

We wash. We sanitize. We might wash again, just to make sure. But in the end, we will probably allow ourselves to believe that it (whatever it is – a hand, a dish, a children’s toy that the dog confused for its own) is clean enough. We carry on.

At least, some of us do.

This is the time that all the germaphobes out there reading this raise their sanitized hands and say “Me! Me! That toy is not clean. For the love of Clorox – it is not clean!” Was this your reaction? You may be suffering from mysophobia, the fancy term for “fear of germs.”

Keep calm; you’re in good company.

We've got a list of germaphobes who were successful despite their fear:

  • Howard Hughes - "The billionaire aviator, motion-picture producer and business tycoon--spent most of his life trying to avoid germs." - M. Dittmann, American Psychological Association
  • Howard Stern - "Stern, a self-professed homebody and germaphobe, rarely makes live appearances and is usually closely guarded by security rage-bot Ronnie Mund and other entourage." - Liz Brown, The Examiner
  • Howie Mandel - "'In my mind [my hand] is like a petri dish.'" - Howie Mandel as told to Jessica Haddad, ABC News
  • Donald Trump - "It's well known that Donald Trump, a germaphobe, doesn't like shaking hands" - Dan Amira, New York Magazine
  • Nikola Tesla - "Tesla was a germaphobe, fastidiously clean to the point of (allegedly) using seventeen clean towels a day, and claiming to have a 'violent aversion against the earrings of women.'" - Maggie Ryan Sandford, Mental Floss

And the fictional:

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