Breath-holding spells in children
"Breath-holding spells" refers to two distinct conditions that can occur when a child is frightened, upset or angry, or experiences a sudden shock or pain.
The child seems to stop breathing on the outward breath (exhalation), turns a deathly pale grey or blue colour, and temporarily loses consciousness.
The episodes are involuntary, which means the child can't control them. They usually last for less than a minute and, although upsetting to witness, don't harm the child.
Breath-holding spells are common, with one type or the other occurring in around1 in 20 children. They usually start between6 and 18 months of age, and affect both boys and girls equally.
In many cases they'll stop by the time the child is four or five years old, although some children will continue to experience them into adulthood.
Read about breath-holding spells in children, including the two different types, how to distinguish between them, and what to do if your child has a breath-holding episode.
There are two distinct disorders that are called "breath-holding spells". Blue breath-holding spells Blue breath-holding spells are the most common type of breath-holding disorder, and often occur dur
It isn't always possible to tell the difference between a blue breath-holding spell and a reflex anoxic seizure. However, in most cases the advice will be the same reassurance and treatment for iron d
If your child has a blue breath-holding spell or reflex anoxic seizure, you should: stay calm it should pass in less than a minute lie them on their side don't pick them up keep an eye on them until
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
There's no specific treatment for blue breath-holding spells, but your child should have a thorough examination to check for any underlying problems, and an ECG to check for an irregular heartbeat . R