How to Stop Hiccups
Most attacks of hiccups are over in ten to 20 minutes, but occasionally attacks can last for days, causing distress and interfering with sleep.
Hiccups are usually caused by irritation of the diaphragm –a muscular partition which separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. Hiccups occur when the sufferer overfills the stomach with food or drink, and the diaphragm goes into spasms.
Cures are based on the fact that carbon dioxide, a product of breathing, inhibits the spasms.
What can be done?
• Breathe in and out of a paper bag to build up carbon dioxide in the body. Don’t use a plastic bag; it may cause suffocation.
• Simply holding the breath works in the same way, and the hiccups may stop.
• Folk remedies, including drinking water slowly (perhaps while standing on your head), sucking ice, pulling on the tongue or being given a fright, may also be successful.
When to see the doctor
If the hiccups last more than a day, you should see a doctor, who may examine you for some abdominal disorder which could be causing the hiccups.