How to get rid of hiccups
By DR. KAREN LATIMER
Hiccup! Giggle. Hiccup! "Excuse me." Hiccup ... Oh shoot! You are at a party, on a first date or a job interview and suddenly, out of nowhere, your chest is convulsing and you can't complete a sentence without a hiccup, which is as annoying to you as it is to the person with whom you are speaking. What the heck? Why are you fine one moment, and the next making strange movements and sounds?
A hiccup is the result of an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm, which causes your chest to jump a little. This is followed by a sudden closure of the vocal cords, which produces the typical "hic" sound. Rarely, hiccups can be the symptom of a more serious problem, but most often, they are benign and self-limited.
Hiccups can be precipitated by alcohol consumption, eating too much, drinking carbonated beverages, excitement, swallowing air, or temperature changes. Sometimes they just happen for no reason at all, and should go away on their own. However, there are some tricks to get rid of them more quickly, so you can get on with your conversation.
Sugar, lemon and bitters – in my bartending days, I could cure even the most stubborn of hiccups in the drunkest of people with this simple remedy. Put sugar on a spoon, squeeze some lemon on top and add a dash of bitters. Take all at once as you would medicine. I have never seen this fail. If you do not have bitters, try sugar, lemon and vinegar.
Holding your breath – This can serve to rest your diaphragm long enough to reset it. If simply holding your breath does not work, try holding your breath for a few seconds and gulping water while continuing to hold your breath.
Gargling with ice water – The cold temperature on your throat may be enough to retrain your brain, and get your diaphragm back into its normal rhythm.
Drink water through a thin straw while holding your nose. The extra work required for this sucking motion can force your respiratory muscles back to normal.
Eat a big spoonful of peanut butter. The effort it takes to manipulate the sticky substance down your throat and into your stomach can interrupt your breathing pattern, and get rid of the hiccups. Nut allergy? You can accomplish the same result with a spoonful of chocolate powder.
Scare the hiccups away. The distraction and the sudden intake of air can literally frighten the hiccups away. Even if it doesn't work, hiccups are a great excuse to jump out from behind a wall at someone just to see the look on his face.
No need to drive yourself and everyone around you crazy. Give one of these remedies a try. If your hiccups last longer than two days, you should seek medical attention to rule out a neurologic or metabolic disorder.