Petechiae or Pinprick
You may or may not have heard the term “Petechiae,” but you’ve probably seen its effects on the skin. Petechiae are tiny spots that appear on the skin and look like little pinpricks. They often appear in clusters, and can look like a rash if there are a lot of them close together. Usually, Petechiae are harmless, and will go away after a few days.
Petechiae are caused when capillaries in your skin break and bleed. Many different things can cause capillaries to break:
- Straining for an extended time: Extended periods of strain can cause capillaries to break, resulting in Petechiae. Even something as simple as intense coughing can cause capillaries to break and bleed. Things like holding your breath, weightlifting, and many other activities can also cause the kind of bleeding that leads to Petechiae. These types of activities often cause Petechiae to form on the face, often around the eyes and mouth. These types of Petechiae will usually clear up on their own, but can cause discoloration on the face.
- Side Effects of Certain Medications: If you don’t know what is causing the spots that are forming on your skin, check to see if Petechiae is listed as a side effect of any medication you may be on. There are several different medications that can result in broken capillaries, including penicillin.
- Medical Conditions: Common illnesses like mononucleosis and strep throat can cause Petechiae, but the spots can be indicative of very serious conditions as well. Things like leukemia and endocarditis are also associated with the formation of Petechiae. Be sure to consult your doctor if you notice a lot of broken capillaries that are not going away to make sure there is not an underlying cause.
- Injuries and Extreme Sunburn: Victims of strangulation or smothering will often have Petechiae on their faces, and people involved in car crashes can develop the condition as well. Extreme sun exposure can also result in broken capillaries in some cases.
- The first step is to figure out what is causing broken capillaries to bleed. If you can’t find out what is causing the condition, see a doctor immediately. They will help you figure out if the cause of the Petechiae is serious.
- Treat the cause. The Petechiae will heal on their own, but if you aren’t treating the cause, more will form. This may mean taking it easy at the gym, taking the time to recover from a cold, taking medication for strep throat or another illness, or switching medication to one that doesn’t cause Petechiae.
- While you are waiting to Petechiae to heal, putting an ice pack on the affected areas can help ease any swelling or discomfort that the broken capillaries cause.
- Give it time. Unfortunately, Petechiae can only slowly dissipate on their own. Taking it easy and giving your body time to heal itself is really the only way to go!