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How I Deal With My Emetophobia While Living in a College Dorm

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lasell chapter.

Emetophobia is defined as the fear of vomiting, but it can often be so much more than just that for those who deal with it. It can affect day-to-day life in ways that some people may overlook completely. Though it seems a lot like germaphobia to most, it is different as it’s not so much the fear of germs, but what those germs can cause. It forces some to avoid trying new foods, avoid eating foods they did not make, avoid buffet style dining, and steer clear of interacting with a lot of people who could expose you to an illness. Avoidance is the main way people deal with it… However, in dorms it may not be that easy.

Whether you are going to be using communal bathrooms or sharing with only your suitemates, the fear is in some way faced. There are many ways that you can combat these anxieties. From being very cautiously clean to using music to drown out the sounds, start vocalizing your anxieties with your roommate(s) to form boundaries. Countless methods have also been used to also aid people with this phobia. Some include smelling alcohol pads and drinking ice cold water or ginger ale. These are ways to help your body ease that awful feeling we all dread. 

The first few weeks on campus have had their ups and downs due to this phobia for me. Not only because of the fear of being exposed to sickness, but also the anxieties of encountering people who too openly share their bodies ‘issues’. To help myself, I find that watching shows and movies, reading, having music on at most times, and cleaning with Lysol from time to time ease my anxiety a lot. Having an air purifier has also been such a huge help for me as it makes me feel a little safer while just in my dorm. However, I would be lying if I said that the worry was not there. Constantly I find myself worrying that I’ll get sick or hear someone get sick. Especially just because it’s college, and there are going to be kids who don’t know their limits. Yet, I have found that I am not dealing with it as much as I was in high school, because you see people less often and for shorter periods of time

My biggest advice for someone who has this phobia would be to not fear the thought of college because of the sicknesses. The college experience looks different for everyone, and the fear of this is not uncommon. If anything, in college you meet more people who have emetophobia and in a way that helps you feel not only less alone, but it also gives you a way to avoid it a little better. If you have techniques that work for you then stick to those. It is never easy to face your fear, but you can find ways to become your best self without dealing with ‘getting sick’.

Carley Ellis

Lasell '26

Carley is a member and events director of HerCampus, she is a forensic science major in her sophomore year at Lasell University. She is also a member of other clubs on campus such as the Forensic Science Association. In her spare time she likes to read, play video games, and pick up new hobbies such as doing her own nails.