When to see your GP

See your GPthe first time your child has a blue breath-holding spell or reflex anoxic seizure.Your child willneed to be thoroughly examined to check whether they have a more serious underlying problem.

Ask your GP to carry out a routine electrocardiogram (ECG) if they don't suggest one themselves.

Your GP may ask you to describe what happens during an episode to see whether there's a trigger.

Blue breath-holding spells almost always occur during crying. Reflex anoxic seizures will sometimes have a trigger, such as a sudden unexpected pain or fright.

Epileptic seizures can look similar, but don't usually occurin these circumstances.

You should also take your child to see your GP if they have episodes and:

  • they're younger than six months
  • they have frequent episodes (more than one a week) it may be being caused by anaemia
  • they're confused after a breath-holding episode
  • any stiffness or shaking lasts much longer thana minute and they take a while to recover
  • the episodes are so frequent and severe that they're affecting normal family life

Although blue breath-holding spells and reflex anoxic seizures can be scary to witness, they don't harm the child and don't cause neurological problems, such as brain damage or epilepsy.

Iron deficiency anaemia

In some cases blue breath-holding spells and reflex anoxic seizures may be linked to iron deficiency anaemia .

This is where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells, causing symptoms such as tiredness, shortness of breath , heart palpitations and a pale complexion.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018