Cup your hands over your nose and mouth, but continue breathing normally. The extra dose of carbon dioxide should help you get rid of hiccups.
If this doesn’t work, try the next tip…
Press the palm of your hand with the thumb of your other hand—the harder, the better. Alternatively, you can squeeze the ball of your left thumb between the thumb and forefinger of the right. The discomfort is a distraction that affects your nervous system and may get rid of hiccups. (And you can do it under the table without anyone staring at you.)
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The next time you’ve got hiccups, take a deep breath and hold it. When there’s a build-up of carbon dioxide in your lungs, your diaphragm relaxes, which should help get rid of hiccups.
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How to treat hiccups
There are dozens of old wives’ tales about ways to eliminate hiccups naturally, including staring at a light, holding your breath, breathing into a paper bag, sipping ice water, biting on a lemon and gargling with cold water.
As it turns out, many of these traditional remedies do work, because they can affect the level of carbon dioxide in the body, or reduce irritation on nerves and tissues. Breathing into a paper bag, if you have one lying around, is one of the most effective solutions, as this can quickly increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the lungs, allowing the diaphragm to relax. In this way, the rapid muscle contractions will stop. Holding your breath basically accomplishes the same thing, but hiccups can often interrupt this process, re-flooding your lungs with oxygen.
No matter what you do, hiccups are something that will strike at some time when you least expect it, just like a sneezing fit, and many times, you simply have to ride it out and wait for the irritation to pass!
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John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana. He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.
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