Petechial rash in children: a clinical dilemma
Art & Science Previous     Next

Petechial rash in children: a clinical dilemma

Laura Barnetson Fourth year medical student, University of Bristol
Paul Anthony Heaton Consultant paediatrician, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Sarah Palmer Paediatric sister, emergency department, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Siba Prosad Paul Consultant paediatrician, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Why emergency nurses must be aware of the differential diagnoses associated with petechial rash before initiating treatment for invasive meningococcal disease

Children with a petechial rash commonly present to emergency departments. The rash can be associated with serious illnesses, such as invasive meningococcal disease (IMD), but is usually associated with less severe conditions. This article discusses the common and important causes of petechial rash, including IMD, viral illnesses, trauma, Henoch-Schönlein purpura and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. It also analyses the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2014) pathway for management of petechial rash in children and examines treatment of the various causes. The article includes two relevant case studies and discusses the role of emergency nurses.

Emergency Nurse. 24, 2, 27-35. doi: 10.7748/en.24.2.27.s25


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 20 August 2015

Accepted: 31 March 2016

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Try 1 month’s access for just £1 and get:

Your subscription package includes:
  • Full access to the website and the online archive
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student
Already subscribed? Log in

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now