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What is Petechiae?
Petechiae are small red or purple dots of blood that appear on the skin or in the mucus membranes. The mouth is one mucus membrane where petechiae may occur. Petechiae occur when superficial blood vessels under the skin break. Petechiae may look like a rash.
The most common cause of petechiae is through physical trauma, such as a violent coughing fit, prolonged vomiting, or excessive crying. This kind of trauma can result in facial petechiae, particularly around the eyes. Petechiae may also appear in aging skin. These forms of petechiae are generally harmless and disappear within a few days.
Causes of Petechiae
Tiny blood vessels (capillaries) link the smallest parts of your arteries to the smallest parts of your veins. Petechiae appear when capillaries bleed, leaking blood into the skin. A number of things can cause this bleeding, including:
- Prolonged straining
- Certain medical conditions
- Specific types of injuries
- Injuries and sunburn
Tiny petechiae of the face, neck and chest can be caused by prolonged straining during activities such as:
Symptoms of Petechiae
Tiny red, brown or purple spots, about the size of a pin-prick, that appear under the skin are petechiae (also called purpura). These spots are flat and don’t itch or blanch (turn pale) when you press gently on them. A child may have just a few spots or clusters of them, often appearing on the face, chest, stomach or feet.
Diagnosis of Petechiae
Diagnosis of petechiae starts with the patient’s history and his/her physical examination. Blood tests are usually carried out, including:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Platelet count
- Bleeding time
- Prothrombin time
- Partial thromboplastin time
These tests are necessary and usually ordered to differentiate it from different other causes such as:
- Hypersensitivity angiitis
- Rickettsial spots
- Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
How to Prevent Petechiae
Here are a few tips to help prevent tiny red spots on the skin.
- Avoid lifting or straining activities: Lifting weights or straining during bowel movements can increase internal pressure, which may damage blood vessels and cause bleeding and tiny red spots.
- Foods to eat and avoid: It’s a good idea to limit foods that thin the blood, such as garlic and onions. Also, avoid all processed and refined foods with sugar and saturated fats. Opt for fresh foods such as berries, cherries, plums, and tomatoes. These foods are high in antioxidants and will help increase platelet levels.
Improve skin health: Try applying avocado oil or walnut oil on the skin to improve its elasticity and texture, and to help prevent outbreaks of petechiae.
Petechiae Rashes & images