Bruising and bleeding
After a minor injury or a nosebleed, a child with leukemia may bleed more than expected. The child will easily bruise too. They may have small red spots on the skin, or petechiae, caused by rupture of tiny bled blood vessels. In most cases, this is the first sign parents notice in their child. It most often appears as a gum bleed during brushing, falling of a child, or a trauma to the skin or mucus membranes.
Why this happens? Because, the capacity of the blood to clot relies on healthy platelets in the blood. With childhood leukemia, there is marked reduction in the production of platelets. A blood examination will show an abnormally low platelet count in an infant with leukemia. Furthermore, the platelets being produced are not healthy and lack optimal functioning – therefore not able to clot the blood.