Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Stop Hiccups

Ever had the case of the hiccups? Those darn involuntarily movements! You find yourself stuttering in every sentence, so you start trying to anticipate the next one, but once we put our guard down, it comes back knocking. What can we do about this rebellious act against nature?!

Well, to start, how does a hiccup work? Nope, a little dwarf doesn't live in your chest. When you experience hiccups, you get spasms which contracts the diaphragm, which is a sheet of muscle that separates your chest cavity and your abdominal cavity. The spasms cause a intake of breath which is suddenly stopped by the vocal cords, which results in a classic "hiccup" sound. Usually, hiccups go away by themselves when the diaphragm stops experiencing spasms. Since we're busy people, we can't wait for that, so I'll give you some methods that are popular and known to help stop hiccups.

Picture unrelated.

In order to stop hiccups, and the main idea of all the methods is to increase the size of your lungs, to push down the diaphragm (Which is below the lungs) in order to stop the spasms.

  • Hold your breath for 10 seconds (Usually, when you hold your breath you take a deep breath which makes your lungs become larger. Unless you tend to take little shallow "little-girl" breaths.)
  • Drink a whole glass of water (Same concept, when you drink water, you generally take a deep breath, and hold your breath as you drink. You can't both drink water and inhale/exhale.)
  • Breathing into a paper bag for a few seconds (As the carbon dioxide levels increase, you take deeper breaths, so again, same concept.)
  • Insert your face into a pool of ice-cold water for a few seconds.(Same concept, you take a deep breath and hold it.)
If you have hiccups that last longer then 24 hours, or if they are extremely painful, go see a doctor. (3 hours for young children.)