Should you be reading this?

Before I spend hundreds of hours and thousands of words on this blog discussing this fun little condition, I feel that I should start things off by defining what it is we’re talking about.  What it is, and what it isn’t.

What it isn’t:

It’s not herpes.  Repeat after me:

You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.  You don’t have herpes.

Unless, you know, you have herpes.

This is the single most common misconception about this condition, but it’s wrong.  It’s a million times wrong.  The next time you confide in someone that you get these little painful sores in your mouth and they console you by calling you a slut, kick them in a spot that will end their genetic line.  Do it for all of us.

Even better, educate them.  Tell them you have RAS – Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis.  Because that’s what it is.

The sores associated with herpes are cold sores, usually found around the lips and nose and hardly ever on the inside of the mouth.  Cold sores present totally differently than RAS.  They appear as fluid-filled blisters like one would expect from poison ivy and do not ulcerate.  While RAS-related canker sores can and sometimes do appear on the lips, especially when chapped or cracked, these are relatively rare  and, again, present differently.

Herpetic cold sores are also contagious and spread the herpes simplex virus while RAS is not.  This is another misconception.  It’s not viral, or bacterial, and it doesn’t spread.  Nobody will ever get an ulcer from kissing you.  Granted, it’s not a very sexy thought to lock lips with someone that has an open sore, but it won’t affect anybody.

So don’t ever let anyone tell you that you have herpes.  Ask any doctor and they’ll tell you the same thing.

We won’t be spending any time on this blog talking about cold sores and cold sore remedies, because that’s not what we’re dealing with here.  Besides, that would be too easy.  Everybody knows what causes cold sores.  RAS is a totally different animal.  Nobody knows the exact cause of RAS and different things bring it about in different people.  But it’s the stigma of having them that I think has kept more research from being done and more people from investigating them.  Fighting that stigma is part of what this website is all about.

So just remember, from this point forward… You have a condition, not a disease.  You are not contagious.  You are not gross.  There’s nothing wrong with you.

At least, not because of this.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Tex

    I thought it was herpes. My main reason for thinking it was because dentists and website after website made it clear that “canker sores usually do not form on the tongue, but herpes does.”. Lying bastards.

    • Joe Scott

      I grew up being told all the time that it was herpes. I think I finally put that to rest when I went and got tested.

      I wrote about it here, in case you didn’t see it.

  • Tex

    Maybe it was the lips or gums… Whatever the case I get them in all four locations.

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