Petechiae: What They Are, Causes, Treatment  


When I was diagnosed with petechiae, I wasn’t surprised. My mom always said that she had “red flags.” I remember wondering why on one of our shopping trips my mom had these tiny little bumps on her arms and legs and they were very purple. She brushed it off as nothing to worry about so I’m sure many people have experienced a similar reaction when the diagnosis of petechiae arises – relief for learning of a tolerable explanation for the mysterious patches on your skin.

What Are Petechiae?

Petechiae are little, red bumps that sometimes pop up on the skin. They’re caused when blood collects in tiny capillaries and literally puffs up due to the pressure. Petechiae can be very itchy, but rarely cause any serious problems.

Most petechiae occur following a cut, scrape, or other injury — they’re common after falls or collisions with objects. The cause of most petechiae is unknown, but factors that may increase your chance of getting them include being age 30 to 50 years old, having diabetes or a venous disorder (such as varicose veins), taking certain medications (such as corticosteroids), or having a fever.

If you experience petechiae, the first thing to do is wash the area gently with warm water and soap. If the petechiae are appearing regularly, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic ointment or cream to relieve the itch. In some cases, prompt treatment with ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be all that’s necessary.

Different Causes of Petechiae

Petechiae are caused by a variety of things, including viral and bacterial infections, exposure to toxins or chemicals, blood vessel damage, and even cancer. Most petechiae are small, red spots that form anywhere from a few to dozens per milliliter of blood. They can be intensely painful and may cause fever and chills. There is usually no specific cause for petechiae, but they can often be treated with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Types of Petechiae

Petechiae are small, purplish lesions that can form on the skin or mucous membranes. Petechiae most commonly indicate a serious problem and should be promptly evaluated by a doctor. Here is a look at the different types of petechiae, their causes, and treatment options:

There are three main types of petechiae: purpura, hemorrhage, and thrombocytopenia.

Purpura is the most common type of petechiae and results from an increased production of blood vessels in the skin. This can happen when there is an injury or when the immune system overreacts to something (like a virus). Hemorrhage occurs when blood leaks from a ruptured vessel in the skin. Thrombocytopenia is a low blood count caused by a number of factors, including infection, leukemia, and pregnancy.

Causes of Petechiae

Petechiae can be caused by a number of different things, but the most common causes are listed below.

Injuries: Petechiae can often occur as a result of injuries to the skin, such as cuts or bruises.

Rare Causes of Other Strange Skin Conditions

Petechiae is a rare condition that causes small red bumps or spots on the skin. These bumps or spots may be itchy, painful, or even bleed if they’re treated incorrectly. Petechiae can be caused by a variety of conditions and can occur anywhere on the body, but are most commonly seen on the face, neck, chest, and hands.

There are several possible causes of petechiae, including viruses, bacteria, and toxins. Some of the most common causes of viral petechiae are the cold virus (commonly known as the “colds”), the flu virus, and measles. Bacterial petechiae can be caused by a number of different bacteria, including Streptococcus viridans and Moraxella catarrhalis. Toxins can include oil exposure, mercury poisoning, radiation therapy, and poison ivy exposure.

If you think you may have petechiae, your best bet is to see your doctor. If the bumps or spots are caused by an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medication. If the cause is unknown or non-infectious, your doctor may perform a variety of tests to determine what’s causing the petech

Fact vs. Myth: Will Fasting Cause Petechiae?

Petechiae are caused by bleeding from small blood vessels in the skin. In most cases, petechiae are red, round, and appear as small bumps on the skin. Petechiae can also occur in other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain.

The most common cause of petechiae is trauma, such as when a person falls and hits their head. Other causes include leukemia, multiple myeloma, and infections such as tuberculosis. Treatment typically involves antibiotics and rest.

Treatment Options

If you are ever concerned about the appearance of small bruises or red spots called petechiae, you should seek medical attention. Petechiae are a result of bleeding inside the body – they can be caused by a number of different things, including injury, fever, and leukemia. Here are some treatment options for petechiae:

– Rest and relaxation: Keep the person as still as possible to reduce pain and swelling.

– Anticoagulants: If the petechiae are caused by a bleed, medications may be prescribed to stop the blood from flowing. Factors that may influence how well these medications work include age, general health, and other medications being taken concurrently. Always consult with your doctor before taking any type of anticoagulant medication.

– Steroids: If petechiae are caused by a virus or infection, steroids may help to fight the infection. They can also help reduce swelling and pain.

– Warm compresses: Apply warm compresses to the area around the petechiae for 10 minutes every few hours as needed.


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