Monday, September 21, 2015

How to stop hiccups effectively

Many of us face the problem of hiccups from time to time. Sometimes it happens to me if the food is too dry and thus difficult to swallow. One old story about hiccups is that somebody is remembering you and hence the hiccups. Actually they happen when the diaphragm muscle suddenly and involuntarily contracts. But whatever the reason, hiccups could be annoying and even embarrassing if you have an official meeting or presentation. Once it happened to my uncle that he had the hiccups and it didn't stop for one whole day and he had to go to the doctor!

The Guinness record for the longest hiccups belongs to Charles Osborne. It started in 1922 when he fell down while weighing a hog for slaughter. He busted a blood vessel in his brain and then had non-stop hiccups for 68 years! It was initially 40 times per minute, then later slowed down to 20 per minute and miraculously stopped 1 year before his death in 1991!  I will put some more fun hiccup facts at the end of this post.   

Following are some of the solutions that I have heard or have been suggested to me over the years. I have tried almost all of them and they didn't really seem very effective.

Holding your breath,
Having ice or ice water,
Putting some sugar in the mouth
Getting startled by something or someone (This I tried on others of course, I cannot do that on myself)

However, I experimented and found the perfect solution. What I did was that I tried to swallow or gulp- either saliva or water. If hiccups happen after you had your breakfast or lunch, your stomach would already be full and then drinking on lots of water till it stops could be impractical. So this is how my method works-

First of all, you need to find out the approximate interval between hiccups. Just count in your head the number of seconds before the next one comes. Now as soon as 1 hiccup comes, start collecting saliva in your mouth or put very small quantity of water in your mouth. And swallow or gulp very small quantity (Actually the quantity is not important- just the swallowing action is needed) 2-3 seconds before the next one is going to come. This will delay the hiccup. Now the hiccup will try to come again in the next few seconds, hence again swallow, now wait for 2-3 seconds and again swallow.

With just 1 mouthful of water the work will be done. If you do not allow the hiccup to come in 15-20 seconds (which is the time you will need to perform the 3 gulps), then it just stops. This is what I have experienced and even tried successfully with others.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

Interesting hiccups facts and stories:

  • A dramatic case of the hiccups occurred in 2006 with a man named Christopher Sands who lived in Lincolnshire, England.  Sands’ hiccups lasted around 3 years and robbed him of his career as a musician and vocalist.  His hiccups were so bad at times that he would be unable to breath properly and would occasionally pass out from it. He also had significant difficulty in sleeping.  Sands eventually received media attention in 2009 and doctors in the United States investigated and found he had a tumor in his brain stem that was causing the hiccups.  After removing it, the hiccups went away.
  • In 2007, Jennifer Mee of Florida hiccuped over 50 times per minute for around 35 days straight before the hiccups went away.  This same girl was later arrested for murder in 2010 after taking part in a robbery!
  • A woman sought help after her husband and in-laws allegedly started blaming her for her husband's hiccups. The woman  stated in her complaint that she got married three years ago and things were fine for the first 15 days, following which she went to her parent's place. When she returned to her husband, he started complaining of hiccups each time he saw her. The man was then told to visit an ENT after the failed counselling session. The doctor examined him, but could not find anything to support the man's hiccup claim. The man was called for a session, during which they made his wife cover her face and sit in a corner. He was normal initially, but the moment she removed her scarf he started getting hiccups, which continued for about three hours. The police went into a tizzy as the man's hiccups continued but the moment his wife was sent out of the chamber, the hiccups stopped!

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