Petechiae In Babies- Causes, Signs and Treatment

petechiae on a child's arm

Babies have soft, delicate, and almost clear skin. Sometimes babies may develop certain kinds of skin conditions, and one such condition petechiae. Petechiae are small red bumps that usually appear on babies’ skin or mucus membranes. This condition is usually harmless, but sometimes the symptoms of the condition can range from mild to severe. Find out more about this skin condition in babies, how it happens, its various symptoms, how is it treated, and various other aspects related to this condition, in the following blog!

What Is Petechiae?

Petechiae is a skin condition that is characterised by flat, tiny, pinpoint red spots that are usually less than 1 to 2 millimetres in diameter. These spots are usually not a cause of great concern; however, sometimes these spots could result because of some mild or severe health condition. In such cases, it is important that early medical assistance is sought. Sometimes, these spots become bigger, increase in number, and do not disappear even when the skin is stretched; this may happen because of some underlying health condition.

Causes of Petechiae In Infants

Here are some common causes or reasons for petechiae in babies:

  • Possible meningitis, severe infections such as dengue, collagen-related diseases, etc. can be the probable cause of these bumps on the skin.
  • Sometimes vomiting or cough may also lead to this condition in babies.
  • Sometimes a certain phenomenon that results from inflammation to cutaneous vessels, also known as vasculitis or certain coagulation diseases such as Von Willebrand’s disease, etc. can also cause this condition.
  • Various kinds of skin allergies, such as atopic dermatitis, may cause this condition.
  • Administering certain medicines such as quinine, penicillin, Cerebyx, etc. may result in this skin condition.
  • At times certain deficiencies such as Vitamin K deficiency may cause petechiae on the baby’s face and body.

These are a few reasons that may lead to petechiae in babies.

Symptoms of Petechiae In Babies

Here are some symptoms and signs of petechiae in babies:

  • The baby may develop a rash.
  • The baby may pass dark-coloured urine.
  • The baby may experience trouble breathing.
  • The baby may cry incessantly.
  • The baby may have a fever without any evident reason, and the baby’s hands, feet, and legs may appear cold.
  • The baby may appear sleepy or drowsy.

Treatment Options for Infantile Petechiae

The treatment of this skin condition will vary on the severity and underlying condition that may be causing it. Here are some treatment options that your doctor may suggest:

  • If the condition is a result of some kind of bacterial infection, the doctor may recommend a course of antibiotic medicines.
  • If the skin condition is because of coagulation disease, the doctor may suggest anticoagulant medicines.
  • If petechiae have any kind of connection with purpura fulminans, immediate medical help should be sought and the doctor can start a course of antibiotics medicines at once.
  • In cases where this skin condition results from small trauma, the bumps will subside on their own. However, using cold compression may help in speeding the healing process.

If there are no evident signs of any underlying health condition, these spots usually fade away on their own. However, it will be a good idea to still get your doctor’s consultation to rule out any underlying medical condition. Sometimes delays in getting treatment may cause fatal complications in babies.

Whatever treatment plan your doctor suggests, make sure you follow it, and the condition will get better without any scars. However, any changes in the condition should be reported to the doctor at the earliest.

How to Prevent Petechiae In Babies

Petechiae can occur with or without some underlying condition. Here are some ways of preventing petechiae in toddlers and babies:

  • Getting your child vaccinated for specific diseases may protect the child from petechiae occurring from those particular diseases. However, there is no vaccine available that will prevent this skin condition from resulting from any kind of ailment that can cause petechiae.
  • Sometimes petechiae that occur due to ailments that result from certain deficiencies, such as scurvy, including foods rich in vitamin C (if your baby is old enough to consume solids or your doctor suggests so) can help in keeping this ailment at bay.
  • If you send your baby to a daycare centre or he spends time with a nanny, make sure the people who take care of your baby are trustworthy. This is to avoid any instances of physical abuse that may lead to petechiae in newborn babies and toddlers.

Petechiae in itself is not something that should not become any cause of serious concern because in most cases, petechial baby rash and other symptoms associated with it, subside on their own. However, parents should be watchful about the symptoms that occur because of an underlying health ailment. Sometimes neonatal petechiae or petechiae in babies could lead to complications.

When to See a Doctor

You should seek immediate medical help or assistance if you notice any of the following symptoms in your baby:

  • If your baby’s pulse rate is abnormal or comparatively high.
  • If you register or find some unexplained bruises on your baby’s skin.
  • If your baby develops a fever, which is 104 degrees or more.
  • If you notice your baby is very tired or lethargic.
  • If you notice the bumps or spots on your baby’s skin are increasing in number or size.

These are some of the signs for which you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will make the diagnosis to check the reason for these bumps. He/she may conduct a clinical examination, blood tests, lumbar puncture, etc. according to the suspected underlying condition. Once the correct diagnosis is made, your doctor will advise you a course of treatment that should be followed strictly to effectively manage the condition.

If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs or symptoms of petechiae in your baby, it is recommended that you seek your doctor’s advice. Doing so at the earliest can help you avoid any health complications in your baby.

Also Read:

Rash on Infant’s Face
Skin Allergies in Infants
Dry Skin in Infants