COVID-19, a new form of coronavirus, is dominating the news. To date, nearly 100,000 people have been infected by the respiratory disease, which originated in China, with the number of UK cases recently surpassing 300. More than 3,300 people have died worldwide after contracting the virus.
It’s a worrying time for everyone, but for those who suffer from health anxiety and/or a form of obsessive compulsive disorder involving repetitive hand-washing to manage an obsessive fear of germs, it may feel particularly challenging.
The official advice from the World Health Organisation is to wash your hands with soap and hot water regularly for 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. This medically-informed advice is rightly being pushed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a bid to contain the coronavirus, but hearing it everywhere you go can be triggering.