What Is Petechiae: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Petechiae are microhematomas less than 3 mm in size, the result of blood leaking from small blood ducts (capillaries). These are small punctate hemorrhages which, together with purpura and ecchymoses, represent superficial bleeding in the skin or mucous membranes, without external emission of blood. Petechiae can be induced by trauma or minor bruising, or be the result of coagulation disorders, vitamin K deficiency, dengue, bacterial endocarditis, infections, scurvy or Cushing’s syndrome.

The published material is intended to allow rapid access to general advice, suggestions and remedies that doctors and textbooks usually dispense for the treatment of petechiae; these indications must in no way replace the opinion of the attending physician or other healthcare specialists in the sector who are treating the patient.

What to do

  • Contact your doctor if you experience recurrent or abnormal petechiae
  • Treat the underlying disease
  • Apply ice packs directly to the petechiae to speed healing

What NOT to do

  • Fruit and vegetables, because they are rich in antioxidants and vitamins
  • Foods rich in vitamin K (e.g. green leafy vegetables: spinach, broccoli, cabbage), to be taken in case of vitamin K deficiency
  • If necessary, supplement the diet with vitamin C (e.g. redoxon, Cebion, cimille): ascorbic acid strengthens the walls of blood vessels
  • Integrate the diet with vitamin E supplementation (e.g. arovit, evion, ephynal, rigentex): tocopherol inhibits the increase in permeability of the capillary walls, induced by drugs or infections
  • In case of ongoing antithrombotic therapy, carefully follow the dietary measures suggested by your doctor (see: diet and coumadin)
What NOT to Eat

  • Saffron: excessive consumption of saffron can promote bleeding induced by the reduction of platelet counts
  • Garlic: due to its anticoagulant effect, excessive consumption of garlic can aggravate bruising due to coagulation disorders
  • Some simple natural remedies can promote the reabsorption of the microhematoma that characterizes ecchymosis, thus speeding up healing times.
Pharmacological treatments

The specific treatment for petechiae depends on the underlying cause:


Medical treatments

  • Generally, petechiae express rather mild conditions, therefore they tend to self-resolve within a few days. When the bruises form real ecchymotic masks, it is possible to intervene by:
    • Compression/elastic bandage: limits tissue swelling
    • Surgical evacuation treatment: generally indicated for severe forms, in which bruising is associated with deep hematomas

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