Petechial rash is a condition that is caused when tiny blood capillaries just below the skin, rupture and leak blood right beneath the skin surface. These tiny little spots can be red, brown or purple in color, due to the oxidation of the blood. Since the blood leaks under the skin, the rashes are flat, and the color does not vanish even when it is pressed. Petechial rash can occur on any part of the body, as long as there are small capillaries in the area. They even appear on the palate of the mouth. The condition can occur in all people regardless of age and gender. The spots will vanish after a while, but if they occur again, then they take a long time to clear up. You should see your doctor when will find out what could be the cause of the bleeding.
What causes petechial rash?
The primary cause of petechial rash is an injury or trauma in the capillaries. This can be caused by several factors including infection or straining.
In children, petechial rash is caused by the child having fallen, or having measles. The bleeding may also be caused by a deficiency in some vitamins, especially vitamin K. The condition can also occur when the child is suffering from scurvy.
Petechial rash can occur on the palate due to a dental condition, or trauma to the mouth which may be caused by eating candy and other hard foods.
Petechial rash can also be brought about by old age. As the skin ages, it will lose its thickness, and will expose blood vessels. This will lead to easy breakage of the blood vessels, even from a mild bow, causing the bleeding into the skin.
Viral infections such as mononucleosis and some sepsis can cause a petechial rash in adults. Blood infections and leukemia can also cause the rash to occur.
Petechial rash also occurs in patients who are undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy, since these can break the capillaries that are under the skin. People who use a lot of steroids or anticoagulants may also develop petechial rash.
Lupus or lupus erythematosus, hemolytic uremic syndrome and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura are conditions that can also lead to the development of petechial rash.
Once you see the signs of petechial rash, you should not ignore it since it may be caused by an underlying medical condition. You should visit your doctor who will give you a proper diagnosis as to what is causing the rash to appear. The doctor will also tell you what precautions you should take to stop the bleeding from occurring again.
What is the treatment for petechial rash?
When a patient develops petechial rash, then he or she must seek medical advice so that the underlying condition can be well diagnosed. If the rash is being caused by bacterial infections then antibiotics should be prescribed. If a low platelet count is the cause for the bleeding the patient has to have a blood transfusion, or have more platelets injected from a platelet storage facility. Medication can also cause petechial rash, which implies that one should stop the dosage. If the rash is being caused by leukemia or cancer then the patient must undergo treatment for these conditions. Sometimes surgery may be necessary in the case of cancer patients. If the petechial rash was caused by trauma or straining, then there is no treatment necessary since it will disappear on its own. However, one can use an ice pack for the first day so that the bleeding is halted. In all cases the petechiae will disappear after some time.
Petechial rash in children is a very sensitive issue and they vary on a clinical context. Since children are delicate, the rash could be due to some lid trauma that may be occasioned from falling down or bumping into objects. However, children who get viral infections are more prone to getting petechial rash. When a child develops petechail rash, you should see a doctor immediately who will see if there is an infection or not. You can denote that the child is ill if you notice some of the following accompanying the rash.
- If you notice that the child has hypotension, abnormal heartbeat, and signs of either lethargy or irritability.
- If the child is cold to the touch – this is brought about by the reduction of blood flow to the periphery.
There are cases where the petechial rash could be an indicator of a serious [problem in the child and you should take immediate action if you notice the following.
- The child develops small lesions in the rash area.
- The child has abnormal lab parameters.
- The petechiae increase in the first 4 hours of observation.
Petechial rash can be innocent and it could be a sign of a serious internal problem, so the best advice is to see a doctor when you see the rash, and you have not suffered any recent trauma to the skin.
Petechial Rash Pictures