Cyanosis (blue spells)

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Blue spells occur when a child's lungs are not receiving enough blood to carry oxygen to the rest of the body. Find out what to do in case of a blue spell.

Key points

  • Cyanosis means there may not be enough oxygen being carried to tissues in the body.
  • During cyanosis, your child may suddenly feel uncomfortable; be cranky or less alert; breathe faster and deeper; turn blue, especially around the mouth and face; faint or feel faint.
  • If your child is a baby, place them on their back and bring their knees up to touch their chest. Comfort and soothe them.
  • If your child is older, place them on their side and bring their knees up to their chest.
  • If cyanosis lasts longer than one minute and/or your child is less alert, or if your child faints, call 911.
Last updated: February 11th 2014