Coping with Chronic Health Conditions: Tips

Coping with Chronic Health Conditions: Tips

Small Red Spots: Signs Your Child Has Broken Blood Vessels And When You Should Be Concerned

by Freddie Cox

If you look closely at your young child's face, you might notice pin-prick-sized red dots, especially around the eyes and nose. These tiny dots are known medically as petechiae, and they are caused by the bursting of tiny blood bessels. When they appear, it means that your child has been bleeding into the skin. This may sound serious, but sometimes it is nothing to be concerned about. Here is what you need to know about the spots and when you should begin to worry about them. 

Are the spots really petechiae?

Children can contract all sorts of different spots and rashes. Petechiae, unlike other red spots, are not raised above the surface of the skin, and they maintain their color when you put gentle pressure on them. Also, the spots may be more purple or brown in appearance, as opposed to the bright, vivid red of a rash.

What causes the blood vessels to bleed?

Petechiae is always a result of bleeding, but the cause of the bleeding itself is what you should be concerned about. The spots are not harmful to the skin, but the bleeding can indicate an underlying problem that will need to be addressed by a family doctor or pediatrician. Common, harmless causes of burst blood vessels in children are:

  • heavy crying. If a child suffers from a painful fall or is having a particularly bad day, sudden, intense crying may increase blood pressure to the point where delicate capillaries near the skin burst. If this is the case, the tiny dots should go away within a few days after the episode. They may reappear again in similar instances.
  • straining. Children may hold their breath when trying to go to bathroom, especially if they are constipated. They may also strain when trying to lift heavy objects or try something new. If your child does have trouble with normal bowel movements, you should talk to your doctor about possible causes and remedies, and the red spots should eventually clear up.
  • throwing up. If your family has had a bout of the stomach flu, children who were affected by constant or frequent vomiting may develop petechiae, as these also cause increased blood flow and strain. Spots may appear around the mouth and down the neck as well.

All of the above instances of petechiae are not causes for medical concern. But, there are more ominous causes for bleeding into the skin. Some more serious causes include:

  • leukemia. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. It causes low platelet count, which can make it easier for people to bleed. Therefore, the pinprick spots might appear as the person goes about daily living. However, leukemia will come with other symptoms, including extreme fatigue and bruising. 
  • thrombocytopenia. This is the medical term for having a low platelet count. It makes internal bleeding, including bleeding into the skin, more likely. However, if your child does suffer from low platelets, red spots and bruises will appear on other parts of the body, including the insides of the hands or the bottoms of the feet. You doctor can easily determine if your child has low platelets with a simple blood test. 
  • strep throat. Strep throat is treatable, but it brings with it high fever and headaches, along with vomiting in some cases. The increased strain on the body leads to petechiae. If your child has no symptoms of strep, it's unlikely the spots are a symptom of this illness.
  • viral hemorragic fevers. These infections cause weakening of the blood vessels, allowing them to burst. However, it is unlikely that your child will contract one of these fevers if they do not travel abroad, as ebola, dengue, Yellow fever and others are quite rare in the United States. You should only be concerned if you and your family have traveled somewhere where these fevers are common and infectious. 

If you are concerned about the appearance of petechiae in your child, talk to a pediatrician about possible causes. It is likely that the cause is not serious, but it is always better to make sure. For more information, schedule an appointment at a clinic like Entira Family Clinics


About Me

Coping with Chronic Health Conditions: Tips

Ever since I was a young girl, I have had bad asthma and allergies. I had to stay in the hospital several times when I was in elementary school just to help get my asthma under control and it seemed like I was trying medication after medication with little success. I don't remember all of my childhood health details, since I was so young, but my mother has "filled in the blanks" for me. Thanks to modern medicine and a natural remedy, my health conditions are currently under control and have been for a few years now. I am very grateful for my good health, and I want to "pay it back" to others by creating a blog where I will post my health tips. I hope I can help you learn how to achieve good health!