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Hiccups (cont.)

How do I get rid of the hiccups?

There are a variety of home remedies to resolve hiccups, which include holding your breath to drinking a glass of water quickly. The common thread to most of these remedies is that carbon dioxide builds up in the blood or stimulating the vagus nerve will stop hiccups. Medical care is rarely needed to cure hiccups. If a person has hiccups for more than two days, they should seek medical care.

What home remedies get rid of the hiccups?

Numerous home remedies to stop hiccups exist. The reason these remedies are thought to work is that carbon dioxide build-up in the blood will stop hiccups, which is what happens when a person holds their breath. Stimulation of the vagus nerve (the nerve that runs from the brain to the stomach) is stimulated, hiccups can also be alleviated (this is what is happening when a person drinks water or pulls on their tongue).

Try these methods at home to get rid of the hiccups:

  • Hold your breath.
  • Drink a glass of water quickly.
  • Have someone frighten you (or better, surprise) the person
  • Use smelling salts.
  • Have the person pull hard on their tongue.
  • Place one-half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of the tongue. (Repeat this process 3 times at 2-minute intervals, if necessary use corn syrup, not sugar, in young children.)

There are many other suggestions to get rid of the hiccups such as "name 10 famous bald men;" "stick a finger in the ear;" tickling the palate with a swab; or swallowing a tablespoon full of honey (this distracts the person with the hiccups and may help the diaphragm relax). However, a person should only try those methods they are comfortable, and be aware that some methods are not suitable for infants (honey, sugar methods), elderly with swallowing problems, and others with health problems. Call your doctor for further information if individuals have any questions about home remedies or if they fail to stop the hiccups.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

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Hiccups »

The term "hiccup" derives from the sound of the event. "Hiccough" erroneously implies an association with respiratory reflexes.

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