Petechiae are pinpoint, round spots that appear on the skin as a result of bleeding. The bleeding causes the petechiae to appear red, brown or purple. Petechiae (puh-TEE-kee-ee) commonly appear in clusters and may look like a rash. Usually flat to the touch, petechiae don't lose color when you press on them. Sometimes they appear on the inner surfaces of the mouth or the eyelids.

Petechiae are common and may indicate a number of conditions, ranging from minor to very serious.

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
  • Medications
  • Injuries and sunburn

See your doctor promptly if you or your child develops unexplained or widespread petechiae. It's important to determine the cause, since some underlying problems can be potentially serious.

May 05, 2015