What Are Causes and Symptoms of Petechiae?

Causes of petechiae include prolonged straining, infectious diseases and certain medications, and symptoms include round, pinpoint spots on the skin that may be brown, red or purple in color, according to Mayo Clinic. Certain injuries and sunburn can also cause petechiae.

Petechiae result from capillaries bursting and bleeding into the skin, states Mayo Clinic. They often occur in a cluster, giving the appearance of a rash. Petechiae maintain their color when pressed, and they are flat to the touch. Resulting from a variety of conditions ranging from mild to serious, petechiae can sometimes form on the eyelids and inner surfaces of the mouth. Prolonged straining from coughing, crying, vomiting, weightlifting or giving birth often causes petechiae on the chest, neck or face.

Medications that may cause petechiae include chloral hydrate, anticoagulants, naproxen, penicillin and desipramine, lists Mayo Clinic. Viral, fungal and bacterial infections that may cause petechiae include scarlet fever, sepsis, mononucleosis, endocarditis and strep throat. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, viral hemorrhagic fever and meningococcemia may also cause these pinpoint dots to appear. Noninfectious medical conditions that sometimes cause petechiae include vitamin K deficiency, leukemia, scurvy, vasculitis and low platelet count. Petechiae on the face and eyes may be a sign of child abuse from smothering or strangulation.