Petechiae and Purpura

Sudden tiny red or purple spots or sudden bruising may be early symptoms of a serious illness or bleeding problem. There are two types. Petechiae (say “puh-TEE-kee-eye”): Are tiny, flat red or purple spots in the skin or the lining of the mouth. Do not turn white when you press on them. Range from the size of a pinpoint…

Petechiae and Purpura

Petechiae and Purpura

Sudden tiny red or purple spots or sudden bruising may be early symptoms of a serious illness or bleeding problem. There are two types.

Petechiae (say "puh-TEE-kee-eye"):

  • Are tiny, flat red or purple spots in the skin or the lining of the mouth.
  • Do not turn white when you press on them.
  • Range from the size of a pinpoint to the size of a small pea and do not itch or cause pain.
  • May spread over a large area of the body within a few hours.
  • Are different than tiny, flat red spots or birthmarks that are present all the time.

Purpura (say "PURR-pyuh-ruh" or "PURR-puh-ruh"):

  • Is sudden, severe bruising that occurs for no clear reason.
  • May be in one area or all over.
  • Is different than the bruising that happens after you bump into something.

Credits

Current as ofJune 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

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