“Your environment, lifestyle, and health conditions are some of the factors that affect your skin’s appearance.”

Sometimes skin problems can be caused by things like sunburn or a mosquito bite. Sometimes the skin on your body is hard to identify.

Petechiae are red, purple, or brown dots on the skin that are generally painless and itch-free. These dots form when your tiniest blood vessels, called capillaries, break and leak blood under the skin. This blood pools under the surface, creating the appearance of spots.

Petechiae are not considered a medical condition. They are often a symptom of a bigger health problem.

In this article, we will look at some potential causes of petechiae, symptoms to watch out for, and when to see a doctor.

You can develop petechiae for a number of different reasons, including injuries and infection. In many of these cases, petechiae are a symptom of an underlying health issue.

Here’s an overview of common causes of petechiae:


There are red dots on your skin if you have an allergic reaction to certain medications. This could be a bug. Hives are often larger than petechiae. There are medications that cause petechiae in rare cases.


Red dots or other skin problems can be caused by both viral andbacterial infections. There are infections linked to petechiae.

Blood-related disorders

Blood-related congenital disorders, blood cancers, and chronic conditions are included.

  • It is called thrombocytopenia.
  • leukemia
  • types of anemia
  • The platelets are platelet-derived.
  • Coagulation disorders can be related to other diseases.
  • There are diseases in the veins.
  • Bernard-soulier syndrome is a genetic condition.
  • Glanzmann thrombasthenia.

Other chronic conditions

Petechiae can come and go as a result of a chronic disease. This includes congenital and connective tissue disorders. For example:

Acute injuries, allergic reactions, and a vitamin K deficiency are also associated with the symptom of petechiae.

Does COVID-19 cause petechiae?

Each new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, seems to appear with new symptoms. Different variants of the virus have caused some level of skin symptoms, including petechiae. This is believed to be related to bleeding and coagulation changes brought on by COVID-19.

Although petechiae has been observed in people with COVID-19, it’s not the most common skin manifestation. One study estimated that only about 3% of people with COVID-19 develop this symptom.

Petechiae may not always show up with other symptoms. These tiny dots are usually flat, red, brown, or purple in color and measure less than 2mm.

“Petechiae are nonblanching. They don’t disappear when you apply pressure to them.”

Size is what differentiates petechiae from purpura. Purpura are also caused by broken capillaries leading blood to pool under your skin, but they’re larger than petechiae (over 2 mm).

Although you may have a sore throat, a fever, or itch, these symptoms are usually related to the issue that caused your petechiae.

The underlying cause of petechiae is dependent on the symptom of another condition.

Petechiae that appear from an injury or infection usually resolve on its own in 2 to 3 days. You’ll likely need to rest and take antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Treatment for most viral infections includes rest and over-the-counter pain medication (OTC NSAIDs).

If you have a blood-clotting disorder, your doctor will design an individualized treatment plan. This could include taking reversal agents to counter anticoagulation medications.

Steroids, chemotherapy, and immunosuppressant drugs may also be used to control a variety of autoimmune or inflammatory disorders that could be causing you to develop petechiae.

Immunosuppressant drugs work by suppressing or modifying your immune system so it doesn’t cause inflammation to joints, tissues, and organs.

Learn about ways to prevent petechiae.

If your child develops a petechiae with other symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Febrile (feverish) conditions that appear with petechiae are especially common in children, accounting for about 2.5% of visits to the pediatric emergency department each year.

Doctors will usually look for a meningococcal infection in these children.

In a 2018 study, between 7% and 11% of cases of petechiae and fever in children were caused by meningococcal disease, and about 10% were caused by Group A staphylococcus infection. Overall, about 60% of these cases were linked to viral illnesses.

Learn more about when to see a doctor for petechiae.

There are many conditions that can cause red dots. You may need to see a doctor to tell you which conditions are related to petechiae.

Other conditions that can cause dots or skin irritation are also similar to petechiae.

“Petechiae are a symptom of a health issue. These spots form after a leak. They won’t disappear if pressed.”

Infections, chronic diseases, and even injuries are some of the common causes for petechiae.

Your doctor may have to run a number of tests to find out what is causing the dots to appear. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

If the condition causing them has been addressed and managed, the red, purple, and brown dots will resolve in a few days.