Do characters like Monica Geller and Dr. Sheldon Cooper resonate with you?  Do you use a smaller vacuum to clean your bigger vacuum? Or run at the sight of Band-Aid on the bathroom floor? Chances are you are a germ freak like the popular germaphobes from Friends and The Big Bang Theory.

Maybe your friends think you’re crazy. Sometimes you wonder the same thing. So, when is it okay to be a germ freak? How does it affect you or the people around you? And when should you start seeking help?

The Good

Being a germ freak means that you care about your health. You don’t want to get sick. That’s why you spend time and energy making sure that you and your immediate surroundings are clean. Better safe than sorry. That’s your motto. When it’s flu season, you take the necessary precautions, allowing you to remain healthy and productive.

Plus, being clean makes you feel good. Attractive even. The truth is people will most likely prefer spending their time with well-groomed, good-smelling individuals. Right?

Research also proves that good-looking people usually get hired sooner and get promoted more quickly. Good looks are not limited to physical attributes. It’s a combination of desirable physical traits and characteristics, such as high self-esteem and self-confidence. When you feel clean and feel good about yourself, this helps exude a confident vibe.

The Bad

As with everything else, too much of something can be bad as well. Yes, hand washing can help prevent catching flu and other infectious disease, but it doesn’t mean that you should scrub your hands raw 20 times a day. Ideally, according to the CDC, these are the times when you need to wash your hands before eating, before and after preparing food, after using the bathroom, and after coughing or sneezing.

The Ugly

At the end of the spectrum, being a germaphobe can take over your life. According to Medicinenet.com, “true germaphobes have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), which can take various forms.” When you wash your hands or buy cleaning equipment out of fear. Or when cleaning becomes a ritual that takes over your life, then that’s when it starts to get ugly.  In fact, it can do more harm than good. You spend hours cleaning or following a specific ritual, so you end up more stressed and less productive.

Having the right amount of germ phobia can be good. When you start to realize that it’s becoming more of an obsession, you can seek help from family members and professionals.