Although they’re sometimes painful, and can in rare cases point to an underlying health concern — like acid reflux, metabolic disorders, or even tumors in the nervous system — hiccups are usually annoying at worst and generally subside on their own. But you can diminish them with a few simple tricks.
Just a spoonful of sugar… stomps out those pesky hiccups, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study — which found almost instant relief in 19 out of 20 cases. Make sure the sugar is dry, and swallow it by letting it dissolve in your mouth first. Something sticky like peanut butter or honey may also be effective.
A common practice for halting hyperventilation, breathing into a paper bag seems to quell hiccups too. Inhale and exhale normally for about 3 minutes. The gradual increase in CO2 stimulates the brain’s request for deeper breaths — which helps relax spasms. Holding a deep breath for 10 seconds can have a similar effect.
Drinking a glass of water can help. However, the remedy’s effectiveness may depend on certain conditions — like using a straw or plugging your ears as you swallow. And there’s some debate as to whether the temperature should be ice cold or lukewarm. Perhaps by the time you’ve decided, your hiccups will be gone.