Petechiae (pronounced puh-TEE-kee-ee) are pinpoint, round spots that appear on the skin as a result of bleeding under the skin. The bleeding causes the petechiae to appear red, brown or purple. Petechiae 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.
Petechiae are tiny, usually measuring less than an eighth of an inch (about 3 millimeters). Larger varieties of these types of spots are called purpura. Petechiae may indicate a number of conditions, ranging from minor blood vessel injuries to life-threatening medical conditions.
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, 2012
- Paulman PM, et al. Taylor's 10-minute Diagnosis Manual: Symptoms and Signs in the Time-Limited Encounter. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:343.
- Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Feb. 20, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Feb. 20, 2012.
- Hoffman R, et al. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06715-0..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06715-0&uniqId=230100505-56. Accessed Feb. 20, 2012.
- Anderson CF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 22, 2012.