How to Properly Get Rid of Hiccups

   You’ve tried everything: having a friend jump out and scare you from around the corner; standing on your head, holding your breath, or both at the same time; eating something sour, eating something sweet, eating something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. But those pesky hiccups come back, back, back again.

The best solution may be something you haven’t tried before. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and it looks silly, but it really works. First, fill your mouth with water (the colder the better). Really fill it up, until your cheeks puff out like Louis Armstrong. Then plug your ears by pressing with your thumbs onto the tragus, the flap that sticks out over your ear canal. Push hard but not too hard, and be careful not to hurt yourself. If there’s any pain, ease off on some of the pressure.

Now with your ears firmly plugged, swallow the water (and this is the most important part) in one gulp. Try your best to get it all down in a single swig. It will not be a pleasant experience, but it will be worth it. And voilà! You’re cured! Most of the time you should only need to do this once, occasionally twice, before your hiccups are gone for good.

If your hiccups persist it may be symptomatic of a larger problem, like a brain tumour, oncoming stroke, or even lung cancer. In a case like this, a cancerous mass pushes into the diaphragm and restricts the breathing process. Hiccups like these are your body’s way of telling you something is very wrong, and all the water you can drink won’t get rid of them. These conditions are rare, but they’re serious. If you’ve really tried everything—even the Mr. Cavaliere-certified method—and nothing has worked, don’t be afraid to see a doctor.

Words by Liam McConnell

Illustration by Robert John Paterson

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