Identifying Skin Bleeding

If you notice a rash of red spots, your child may be bleeding under the skin because of an allergic reaction. Learn more about skin bleeds to determine the signs.

What Is Skin Bleeding?

A rash of flat, red spots on your baby's skin could be a symptom of a minor illness or an allergic reaction, but it may also be skin bleeding, a type of bleeding that occurs under the skin. Skin bleeding occurs when broken blood vessels cause small dots of blood to collect under the skin. These dots do not become pale when pressed.

Symptoms and Signs of Skin Bleeding

Skin bleeds may be symptoms of serious illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, meningococcal disease, meningitis, and leukemia. A simple test can rule out skin bleeding as the cause of the rash on your child.

If your baby has a rash of red, flat spots anywhere on the body (leg, back, arm in one small spot or several spots), this may be skin bleeding. An area of general redness on the skin is not a skin bleed, especially if the skin's red appearance pales when pressure is applied before turning back to red. This is called erythema. A newborn may develop erythema toxicum, a skin condition marked by bumps on top of patches of reddened skin, or a minor condition called erythema multiforme as a reaction to an infection or a vaccine. Both conditions fade over time and do not require treatment.

A skin bleed does not result from trauma, such as a bruise, a skin discoloration that occurs after an injury causes trauma to small blood vessels. The vessels break open and blood pools under the skin.

To determine if a rash is a skin bleed, follow these steps:

  1. Use a clear glass (such as a small juice glass). If a safe, clear glass is not available, use your finger.
  2. Gently press the glass (or your finger) against one of the red dots on the skin.
  3. If the rash remains red when pressed, it may be a skin bleed. If the rash fades, it is not.
  4. Perform the test on every spot on the body.

Treatment for Skin Bleeding

If any of the spots remain red when gently pressed, call your doctor and request an immediate appointment. If you are unsure, make an appointment with your doctor to determine if the rash requires medical treatment. Tell the doctor when you first noticed the rash, its exact location on the body, and any other symptom associated with the rash. The doctor may draw blood from your baby to check for irregularities such as a low-white cell count or abnormal blood clotting.

Copyright ? 2012 Meredith Corporation.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles