It's just that things to do with vomit trigger the anxiety or panic attack. So getting over emetophobia is more simple than you think. Because it doesn't matter who is vomiting, who has norovirus, whether you feel nauseous or sick, how often you've washed your hands or anything else "out there in the world." None of those things matter. All that matters is your ability to control your anxiety. Because right now, your anxiety probably controls you.
Therapists measure anxiety on an 11-point scale called an "SUD" scale which stands for Subjective Units of Distress (or Disturbance). There are 11 points because zero is one of the numbers: 0-10. Zero represents no distress (anxiety) at all. 10 is the worst possible panic you could ever imagine.
As I am working through gradual exposure with clients I am constantly asking them for an SUD number. (It probably annoys the hell out of them!) But the numbers are important because they're your numbers. Hence the term "subjective." 7 is 7/10 for you. Perhaps that's when you start to feel your heart racing, but for someone else it's when they have sweaty palms and tingling feet. Everyone's numbers are different, but the numbers help us to get an idea of whether your anxiety is rising, lowering or staying the same.
But the numbers also serve another important purpose. They let you know how scared you are. Often phobics think of themselves as either "freaked out" or calm, but there are a lot of numbers in between those two and learning to recognize each one of them is key to overcoming your anxiety.
Let's say that you are feeling 1/10 for a baseline. A little stressed perhaps, but no noticeable symptoms. If your anxiety rises to 3 or 4/10 you can probably lower it again just by taking a deep, cleansing breath and then concentrating on slowing your breathing right down and dropping your shoulders to a more relaxed position.
If your anxiety rises above 6/10 being able to control it is more difficult. Up at 8 or 9 you're not even able to think straight. But often it is those numbers between 4 and 7 that give phobics the most trouble. It's there that you can feel a lot of body symptoms such as increased heart rate and breathing, tingly hands or feet, dizziness, nausea, etc. So if you notice your anxiety that high, it's time to try to relax. Breathe slowly. More slowly! Don't hold your breath at the top or bottom of the air - keep it moving. Relax shoulders, stomach, face and jaw. Then take a numerical reading again. Are you at 3 or 4 now? Great. Because it's much easier to lower it from there. More concentrated breaths, more relaxed muscles.
Just the act of "taking a number" can help calm you down. Whatever the number is, you can lower it! Just practice, practice, practice. If you need some help click on the "Resources" section and then "Relaxation Recordings." Good luck! Before you know it your fear of vomiting (or fear of norovirus) will be much better.