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Why does my son hold his breath?

Q: My 2 years old son often holds his breath at least once in two months. First he did it when he was 6 months old. While in this mode he stiffens his legs and hands and his head goes back with eyes closed and he turns blue near the lips. He holds it for approx 20 to 30 seconds. We wash his face and make him lie down on the floor immediately, then he becomes normal and calm. This happens when he falls sick, weak, or is stressed. He is quite healthy with a height of 2.1 feet and weight of 12.5 kg. Is this a common problem in children? What should we do when he holds his breath? Any complications if this happen repeatedly?

A:These are breath-holding spells, which occur in the age group of 6 months to 2 years. Sometimes these are associated with iron deficiency and are seen more in children who are mainly on milk-based diet. It there is iron deficiency; you should decrease the milk intake and increase normal diet with iron supplements. Of course get him checked by your paediatrician to rule out any other deficiency.

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