I have OCD and am terrified of serious illness, so this is exactly the kind of thing that scares me most.
That said, when I think logically, I am not too concerned about this one, yet. Yes, it's naturally frightening when a new disease emerges. But remember SARS back in 2003, when we thought it would scour the globe and kill millions? In the end, less than a thousand people died.
Heck, remember the Swine Flu in 2009? Again, a novel virus emerged, caused some deaths, spread globally, and there was rampant fear of a devastating pandemic, but it turned out to overall be a rather moderate illness.
So far there have been 17 deaths out of 633 confirmed cases, but a lot of those deaths were among the elderly or those with underlying health problems, and it's possible that only the more severe cases are even seeking help and being caught, and that the actual mortality rate is no higher than the regular seasonal flu.
Also, this time the outbreak has been caught earlier than SARS, and quarantines are being put in place.
I'd say there's no call to panic just yet.
I am with you on the OCD thing. I am always worried about my body and every little thing that goes wrong. I had a really bad cold a few weeks back (sore throat, cough, congestion), and I had a strange symptom where my neck got sore during this time, and I discovered a lump underneath my chin (on the underside of my jaw, directly in the center, a few inches above my adam's apple). The swelling eventually went down, although I still do have a very tiny lump that I can feel if I push around that area. Is it something everyone has? I don't think so, but I also wonder. It's a very faint lump and I had actually been noticing it for a year or two now and thought nothing of it until the swelling.
But yeah, in this case I was fearing that it could possibly be cancer, and although I would have bet against it being cancer, I was still quite depressed for a few days and I still think about it often.
Just from the past few years:
1. Last June (it actually started earlier but it got bad in June) I had this issue where every night when I went to bed, just as my body would begin falling asleep, my heart would have a few beats that felt strong and out of sync and it would jolt me back awake, startling me and causing me to briefly yell out in my sleep. I have spent many nights sleeping on the couch as I felt bad about scaring my wife several times during the night. Not being a medical professional, my belief was that it was sleep apnea, or possibly that my heart was very weak. I was concerned that it was going to cause me to have a heart attack, as it got so bad it would happen a dozen times some nights, taking me hours to finally fall asleep. I went to the doctor in July and wore a "halter monitor", which is an EKG for 30 days that constantly monitored, and when an event occurred, I would report my symptoms.
After that was done, the conclusion was that my heart was strong and it was just anxiety. I always thought anxiety was just a mental symptom, like depression, and I didn't realize it was something that could cause me to experience symptoms that I could only describe as what I believe the onset of a heart attack would feel like.
This problem still occurs on occasion, but its fairly mild now, and it actually got better the very day that I got the news from my doctor that my heart was strong. As though knowing my heart wasn't weak gave me the peace of mind to allow me to sleep at night.
2. Had a weird problem with my leg for about a week or two where my hip would feel pain whenever I walked. I thought I had gout.
3. Developed a localized rash on my stomach, which eventually caused my entire body to begin itching. Much of my body was getting small, red bumps from the scratching. This happened shortly after I had a stomach problem from an injury at the gym, and I thought they were related. Because of this coincidence, it never occurred to me that it was the nickel in my belt that my body was having a reaction to. My doctor knew right away and when I laid down, he undid my belt and pulled it off in what I can only describe as a weird situation where I thought I was about to be sexually abused but quickly realized my doctor was just showing me the source of the problem. In this instance I was convinced that the stomach issue I had from the gym injury was worse than I thought, and maybe my liver had stopped working, and was failing to metabolize things properly, and proteins, and histamines, and other scary words which was slowly causing my body to deteriorate.
Overall, my real issue is that I am oftentimes too afraid to actually go to the doctor, as I fear the worst. These are just a few of the things. It seems like every month or so something happens that I blow out of proportion.
This was entirely off topic >.>