About half of all people infected with herpes don't have any outbreaks after the first time they get sores and blisters. Other people with herpes might only get a few outbreaks during their lives, while others might get a lot of outbreaks.
It's not clear what causes an outbreak, but some ideas include:
- Other infections in your body or a lowered immune system
- Physical or emotional stress
- Being out in the sun
- Having sex
- For women, your period
- Using alcohol
- Having surgery
- Having a fever
It is possible to have many outbreaks in a row and then go months or years without getting one. If you have an illness that lowers your immune system, like leukemia or HIV, you are more likely to get outbreaks and for your outbreaks to be more painful and last longer.
You can't prevent outbreaks from happening, but taking medicine prescribed by a doctor can help you to have them less often. If you aren't on a herpes medication and you get outbreaks a lot or they are really bad, talk to a doctor about what kind of medicine you should take. Eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and lowering your stress can help decrease the amount of outbreaks you have.