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Let's please not spread paranoia needlessly

By Scott Tibbs, June 19, 2017

If you are a parent, it is easy to give in to paranoia and fear about everything. If you spend much time online and are susceptible to such schemes, one could easily be convinced to never leave your house.

One horror story I saw recently involved a two year old who developed a severe rash and bleeding sores all over her face, complete with heartbreaking pictures. I will not link to the article here, because it is dishonest clickbait fearmongering and therefore does not deserve a link.

Here is what happened: She was kissed by someone with a cold sore - a common ailment. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 90% of adults have been exposed to the virus that causes cold sores by the time they are 50 years old. For whatever reason, the child reacted horribly to the virus. As a father myself I cannot imagine how terrible it would be to watch your child suffer like this.

But reactions like this are rare. Using alarmist language such as referring to the virus that causes cold sores as "herpes" (even if technically true) is recklessly irresponsible and dishonest.

Yes, let's be careful and use common sense. But we should not be overcome with fear. We can have and should have an honest and responsible take on the subject of cold sores - such as explaining that some people (including very young children) can have rare but extreme reactions to being exposed to the virus. But we can spread awareness of this phenomenon without spreading needless paranoia.