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True or False: Some Hiccup Remedies Actually Work
Hiccup Prevention: Avoiding Digestive Disturbances
- Slow Down: The vagus nerve (which controls hiccupping) may be triggered by eating too fast and not carefully chewing your food, causing air to get caught between pieces of food.
- Don’t Overeat: Many people get hiccups after eating a lot of food. Some specialists believe that hiccups are your body’s way of telling you to stop eating.
- Avoid Hot or Spicy Foods: These foods often irritate your stomach lining and sometimes cause acid to leak into the esophagus, both of which can cause hiccups.
- Don’t Drink Excessive Amounts of Alcohol: Alcohol, like spicy foods, irritates the lining of the esophagus and stomach. Also, big gulps of alcohol cause the esophagus to quickly expand, and also result in the swallowing of air. All of these factors can contribute to hiccups.
Hiccup Cure: Distraction or Disruptive Techniques
- Letting a spoonful of sugar dissolve on your tongue, tickling the roof of your mouth with a Q-tip, or sticking your fingers in your ears all stimulate branches of the vagus nerve, and the overload on other vagus nerve endings may put a stop to hiccups.
- Being startled may suddenly overwhelm the vagus nerve.
- Counting backwards from 100 requires concentration, which may divert your brain’s attention away from the hiccups.
- Drinking water while maintaining uncomfortable body positions, such as bending over a sink and turning your head upside down while drinking from the tap, may distract your brain from the hiccups.
- Briefly holding your breath, then swallowing the air a few times may disrupt the hiccup cycle. Sneezing may have a similar effect!
- Holding your breath for as long as you can, blowing up a balloon, or breathing into a paper bag increases the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. The theory behind such actions is that your brain will focus on getting rid of the carbon dioxide because your risk of passing out will have increased, and again, will shift its attention away from the hiccups.
Remedies for Babies
- Suckling, which includes breastfeeding or sucking on a pacifier, often helps infants get rid of hiccups.
- Burping is also a common, often effective method, perhaps because the hiccup cycle is disrupted or the baby’s brain is “distracted.”
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