How to cure hiccups

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

If you’re going to scare the hiccups out of someone, it has to be convincing!

A spasm in your diaphragm forces air to rush into the lungs and close the vocal cords, producing a phenomenon known as… the hiccups! Some of the best ways to get rid of the bodily annoyance are to raise the levels of carbon dioxide in the body or cause a nervous twitch.

As difficult as that sounds, it’s relatively easy to raise your carbon dioxide levels. One way to do this is holding your breath for 10 seconds or breathing into a paper bag. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this method works so well, but they believe the lack of oxygen distracts the body enough to forget about the hiccups and get some fresh air instead.

This distraction method can also be applied to the vagus nerve, which connects the brain and the stomach while coordinating breathing and swallowing. This connection is also involved in the hiccup process, and if a person can disrupt it for just a moment, they can stop the chain of events leading to their hiccups. Some ways to do this include drinking water, biting a lemon, or eating crushed ice.

Some other sensations that momentarily distract the vagus nerve include gently pushing down on your eyeballs, pulling on the tip of your tongue, or experiencing a scare.

Featured image courtesy of Greg Borenstein on Flickr. Image of scared man courtesy of Andy Orr on Flickr.