Public-health types are getting increasingly annoyed with people freaking out about Ebola in the United States, from governors to the general public. It’s easy to see why; when I heard a swim coach was getting questions from parents worried that their children might get Ebola from the pool water, it’s hard not to cue the eye roll.

On the other hand, I suspect I’m not the only person whose husband asked her to buy chlorine bleach and gloves the next time I went to the store.

Fear of the new, unknown and deadly is normal; it’s what prompts us to act to protect ourselves. The question is how do we get from misplaced fears, like Ebola in the swimming pool, to the right kind of worry.