Hiccups are one of those annoying ailments that get little attention — unless you find yourself hiccupping for hours with little or no relief. The best ways to get rid of hiccups quickly are still simple hacks and home remedies as there is little concrete research on them to help solve the problem.
- What is a hiccup?
- Is there a cure?
- Easy Ways to Get Rid of Hiccups
- Method 1: Drink from the opposite side of a glass
- Method 2: Hold your breath and drink
- Method 3: Tilt your head and swallow
- The additional cure for hiccups
What is a hiccup?
There is a muscle known as the diaphragm at the base of your lungs. Imagine it like your lungs are resting on a trampoline. When it contracts suddenly (spasm), there is an intake of air from your mouth that stops at your vocal cords as they snap shut, causing the “hick” in hiccups.
They can be triggered by many factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, eating too quickly, sudden emotional outbursts, spicy food, and changes in external or internal temperature.
Hiccups usually stop on their own, and there is nothing serious to worry about. However, if they last for more than two days, there is a high probability of a latent cause.
Is there a cure?
Because hiccups are usually temporary and cannot be created at will, the research on the subject is limited and hence the answers are inconclusive.
What does one do in such a scenario? The answer is ancient wisdom. Empirical evidence that is passed on through generations has a way of correcting itself over the years. So the traditional knowledge is what we have today as the most credible remedy to get rid of hiccups.
Although scientists may not have found a modern cure for hiccups, they do seem to understand why the traditional methods work.
Hiccups involve the Vagus nerve, which primarily controls the involuntary functioning of the heart and digestion. Many of the traditional methods work by providing a confusing stimulus to the Vagus nerve during an episode of hiccups.
Lack of oxygen
Another common method for stopping hiccups is creating a lack of oxygen in the body and increasing the concentration of CO2 in the body. The brain responds by trying to jolt your respiratory system back into functioning properly.
Easy Ways to Get Rid of Hiccups
Here are a few awesome techniques to cure hiccups fast and easy.
Method 1: Drink from the opposite side of a glass
Drinking from the opposite side of glass than you usually drink from is a key method to get rid of hiccups.
Step 1.Fill a glass halfway with water
Fill a glass halfway with cold water. The half portion is important so that the water does not flow into your nose.
Step 2. Bend down 90 degrees and drink from the opposite side of the glass
Bend down so your waist is perpendicular to your legs and your face is facing the floor.
Bring the diametrically opposite side (the side opposite to the one you normally drink from) of the glass to your mouth and drink the water.
Method 2: Hold your breath and drink
Just hold your breath and take 8 sips from a glass of water. The sips shouldn’t be too little or at a slow pace.
Step 1. Hold your breath
Hold your breath or plug your nose (if that helps you in holding your breath).
Step 2. Take 8 sips
While holding your breath, take 8 sips of water from a glass. Swallow at your normal pace and do not take very small sips.
Method 3: Tilt your head and swallow
It is a variation of the previous method.
Step 1. Take a sip of water
Take a normal sip of water, neither too small nor too large. Remember to keep it in your mouth, don’t swallow the water.
Step 2. Tilt your head backwards
Now, tilt your head backwards so your gaze automatically turns upward. Your eyes must look at the ceiling directly.
Step 3. Plug your nose and swallow the water.
Use your hand to plug your nose and swallow that sip of water that you took a while ago.
The additional cure for hiccups
- Paper bag: Breathe slow and deep into a paper bag for a few minutes to ease your hiccups.
- Scare tactics: Get scared or surprised. Ask someone to help you. Sometimes having someone jump out at you when you don’t expect it can do the trick.
- Hold your breath: Exhale all the air out of your lungs and hold your breath for 10seconds.
- Drink water: Quickly gulp down a glass of lukewarm water.
- Pull your tongue while drinking: Another way to drink water is to pull out your tongue and try to drink water from a glass.
- Drink vinegar: Drinking vinegar is suggested by many, as its sour taste could do the trick. Similarly, sucking on a lemon might work.
- Eating sugar or honey: Eat a spoonful of sugar or honey confuses the Vagus nerve. Peanut butter will work, too.
- Distraction: Do what you like doing the most, which can distract you enough to relieve your hiccups.
- Wait it out: Perhaps you don’t want to hear this, but waiting for it to pass is practically what most of us do in our daily lives. In most cases, hiccups will end on their own, so just wait it out.
A case like Charles Osborne, the man who had hiccups for a span of 68 years, is rarest of the rare and you don’t need to worry about it. However, if your hiccups are stubborn and persist for more than a day, consult your doctor to find out if there’s an underlying cause.