Afraid of bats

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Hi there,

I've been afraid of bats for quite some time, and I guess I was wondering if you all had some advice on how to deal with that fear. It started when I visited the beach of a lake at night, about a year ago- I saw some bats flying around, felt something touch my arm, and discovered a scratch on the back of that same arm the next day. The next few months were spent worrying about rabies, and making multiple trips to the ER asking for treatment. I never received the vaccine, but about a year later I'm still around, so hey.

Today, while out on a walk through the woods, I felt something touch my lower arm. Looking at it, I noticed three tiny red marks like pinpricks arranged in a line about 1-2cm long. Although I found one other similar-looking mark on my arm, and although I didn't feel any pain on my arm or see a bat when I felt something touch it, I'm terrified that a rabid bat may have bitten me. Looking online (a cardinal sin, I know) it seems that although you'll usually notice a bat bite, their teeth are so tiny that it's possible not to notice at all.

Although I doubt that the doctors would give me a vaccine with this story, I know that however scummy it might be, I could exaggerate it in order to get the shot. I'd feel guilty as hell abusing the system, but when my mind is treating this like a life-or-death scenario it seems like the hardest thing in the world to just keep going and hope nothing happens. Am I confident that I didn't see a bat? Yes. Would I stake my life on that? I really don't know.

More than anything, I just want to be free of this fear. Last summer, I broke down in a way I never have before, and I don't want to go through the same thing again. I've been nervous entering forests / going out at night, and I cancelled a hiking trip with a friend just because I was afraid we might encounter a bat. At this point, I think it'd be better to see some kind of counselor for this anxiety.

What do you think? Should I get medical attention?

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If you were bitten or scratched by a bat, you would know it for sure, so I would not worry. You probably bumped into a bush unknowingly that caused the red marks. 

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