Are You Having Red Spots On Your Skin? Might Be Petechiae
Red spots on the skin, also known as Petechiae or blood spots could be alarming if they appeared on your skin suddenly. These are flat red dots on the skin that occur when there is bleeding into your skin. They are less than 2mm in size and affect the skin of the arms, legs, face, back and inner linings. It might be a symptom of blood cancer or any other non-cancerous conditions. The rashes start as tiny, flat red dots on the skin that ends up spreading throughout the body. It is essential to assess the cause of blood spots to frame a safe management plan.
Petechiae appears like a rash, but it does not turn pale as a rash does when you press it. It is more common in kids, especially in the range of 2 to 5 years of age. It can happen in healthy children, too; however, some might indicate undiagnosed illnesses that range from minor to severe causes. Let's learn about the causes and treatment options for red spots on skin.
What causes petechiae/blood spots?
Flat red dots on skin result when blood vessels break and bleed into the skin surface. The key factors that induce this bleeding are platelet dysfunction, clotting disorders, and tissues' inability to hold cells and fluids. Some of the common conditions that result in blood spots on the skin are:
- Viral fever like dengue, yellow fever and Ebola
- Low platelet count
- Inflammation of blood vessels
- Side effects of certain drugs
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Chronic liver disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Aging of skin
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Labor and childbirth
Some medications also cause red spots on skin as an allergic reaction. They are:
- Quinine, a medicine used to cure malaria
- Seizure medications like valproic acid and phenytoin
- Blood thinners like heparin and warfarin
- Certain painkillers
When to worry about flat red dots on skin?
Flat red dots on skin could appear due to no underlying illness. However, watch out for symptoms below and report to your healthcare provider immediately if you or your child is experiencing:
- High fever
- Rapid heartbeat
- Low level of consciousness
- Rashes spreading rapidly
- Pale appearance
- Bruising for reasons unknown
- Weight loss
- Lymph node enlargement
- High blood pressure
- Breathing trouble
How are red spots on skin diagnosed?
Not all the red spots on skin are the same. Evaluation of the causes of blood spots depends on the signs and symptoms. Diagnostic tests rely on the area of blood spots, fever, symptoms indicating the presence of underlying illness etc. The most preferred diagnostic tests for red spots on skin are as follows:
- Complete blood count to check platelet count increased or decreased white blood cell count and haemoglobin levels.
- C-reactive protein, blood culture and PCT (Procalcitonin test) if an infection is suspected.
- Kidney, liver function tests along with coagulation profiles. If prothrombin time is prolonged, it indicates vitamin K deficiency, liver damage or kidney disease.
- Urine analysis to check if protein is present in the urine. This test is to rule out the possibility of kidney problems.
If the blood tests and urine analysis show normal results and your physician declares that there is no infection or spreading of the rashes after observing for a while, you might not need to get admitted for treatment.
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If the blood spots are found to be due to infection, your physician will prescribe antibiotics. If the condition does not improve and your physician suspects tumour formation, they might refer you to the oncology department.
Petechiae in children usually do not require treatment. Treatment becomes essential only if your child is showing any other symptoms of a potential illness. Your child's physician will conduct various diagnostic tests to determine the proper treatment for your child.
After examining your child, the physician might suggest some medicines depending on the diagnosis. If your child does not face trouble swallowing foods and fluids, it means that your child is fit enough to go home.
If your child's physician has prescribed antibiotics, make sure that the course of medication is completed even if your child is symptomatically better. Contact the physician immediately if the rashes do not go away, the temperature is abnormal, your child is vomiting or is generally unwell.
Know about preventive measures for flat red dots on skin:
- Practice good hygiene such as washing hands, brushing teeth and maintaining cleanliness in your surroundings. This will minimize the risk of infections.
- Contact your physician if flat red dots on skin do not subside even after many days.
- Ensure that you and your child eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Can petechiae be treated at Home?
You shall try a few home remedies if your petechiae are found not to indicate any specific illness. You could relieve pain, stiffness and swelling if you do the following regularly:
- Rest and protect the affected area.
- Compress the affected area by tying it with an elastic bandage. Do not tie it too tightly as it might increase swelling. Loosen the dressing if you experience a tingling or numb sensation.
- Elevate the affected area on a pillow anytime you sit or lie down.
- Massage the blood spots gently to relieve pain.
- Apply ice or cold packs immediately 3 to 4 times a day to minimize pain or swelling, if any.
- Avoid hot showers, hot packs and alcoholic beverages for the first two days of getting red spots on skin.
- You shall alternate between hot and cold treatment after 48 to 72 hours.
Stop worrying and start identifying red spots:
Blood spots are not of serious concern by itself, and it usually goes away on its own. However, if it results from some health issue, that particular problem must be addressed and treated.