How to Get Rid of Hiccups: 18 Home Remedies That Actually Work

Why do hiccups always seem to strike at the worst possible moment? Here’s how to get rid of hiccups fast.

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How to get rid of hiccups - cover your mouthPhoto: Shutterstock

Cover your mouth

Try cupping your hands over your nose and mouth, but continue breathing normally. The extra dose of carbon dioxide should help you get rid of hiccups!

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How to get rid of hiccups - press the palm of your handPhoto: Shutterstock

Use your hands

Try pressing 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.

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How to get rid of hiccups - hold your breathPhoto: Shutterstock

Hold your breath

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.

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How to get rid of hiccups - stick out your tonguePhoto: Shutterstock

Stick out your tongue

When no one's watching, stick out your tongue. This exercise is done by singers and actors because it stimulates the opening between the vocal cords (the glottis). You breathe more smoothly, quelling the spasms that cause hiccups.

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How to get rid of hiccups - plug your earsPhoto: Shutterstock

Plug your ears

The next time you get hiccups, stick your fingers in your ears for 20 to 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can press the soft areas behind your earlobes, just below the base of the skull. This sends a "relax" signal through the vagus nerve, which connects to the diaphragm.

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Drink some water

Take nine or 10 quick sips in a row from a glass of water. When you're gulping a drink, rhythmic contractions of the esophagus override spasms of the diaphragm. If this doesn't work, place a single layer of paper towel over the top of a glass, then drink through the towel. You'll have to "pull" even harder with your diaphragm to suck up the water.

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Plug your ears and drink water from a strawPhoto: ShutterStock

Combine the previous two strategies

If you can block your ears while you drink the water, all the better. Stick your fingers in your ears and sip though a straw. You're pressing on the vagus nerve while also getting the benefits of steady swallowing—it's one of the most effective home remedies for hiccups.

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Spoon with white sugar on the dark backgroundAlexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock

Swallow something sweet

A spoonful of sugar is a popular hiccups cure because its graininess could slightly irritate the esophagus, causing the phrenic nerves to "reset" themselves, although there is no proof of this.

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white vinegar on the wooden table topfocal point/Shutterstock

Or swallow something sour

Take a teaspoonful of vinegar. Its sour taste could stop a hiccup in its tracks.

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Spoon and glass jar with creamy peanut butter on wooden backgroundAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Have some peanut butter

A big spoonful of peanut butter is a classic cure if you're pondering how to get rid of hiccups. In the process of chewing and getting it off your tongue and teeth, your swallowing and breathing patterns are interrupted. And hence, the hiccups will be history.

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chili fruits and red pepper powder on old black wood tableimages72/Shutterstock

Sip some hot sauce

This probably works because the heat and burn are distracting enough to turn your body's focus on the burn, instead of the hiccup process.

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Honey with wooden honey dipper on wooden tablePakhnyushchy/Shutterstock

Enjoy a little honey

Put one teaspoon of honey, stirred in warm water, on the back of your tongue, and swallow it. Like dill, honey could potentially tickle the vagus nerve to make the hiccups stop. Bonus: Honey is great for healing ulcers, and is also a known infection fighter and cough soother.

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Chocolate chunks and cocoa powder. Sweet food photo concept. Avdeyukphoto/Shutterstock

Yummy chocolate remedy

The process of how to get rid of hiccups gets a little more difficult with this method. Eat some powdered chocolate drink mix (cocoa or Ovaltine) right off the spoon. Swallowing the spoonful isn't easy—but it should cure the hiccups.

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dill seedK321/Shutterstock

Chew up some dill

Here's a simple, pleasant-tasting trick on how to get rid of hiccups: Slowly chew a teaspoon of dill seeds. This traditional cure may work because swallowing the seeds stimulates the vagus nerve to make the hiccups stop.

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How to get rid of hiccups - breathe into a paper bagPhoto: Shutterstock

Breathe into a paper bag to get rid of hiccups

The next time you get hiccups, breathe slowly and deeply into a small paper bag. (Stop if you feel light-headed.) This could increase the carbon dioxide level in the blood and make the diaphragm contract more deeply to bring in more oxygen. Although this remedy is ultimately unproven, it might provide relief, according to Mayo Clinic. These hiccups are just one of many strange body reactions.

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How to get rid of hiccups - massage neckPhoto: Shutterstock

Massage your neck

This is one of the more strange techniques for how to get rid of hiccups. Try massaging or rubbing the carotid arteries on the right and left sides of your neck for potential hiccup relief.

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How to get rid of hiccups - hug your kneesPhoto: Shutterstock

Hug your knees

Sit comfortably before bringing your knees to your chest and keep them there for two minutes. Pulling your knees in compresses your chest and could help stop diaphragm spasms, per Blue Cross Blue Shield.

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Suck on a lemon to get rid of hiccupsPhoto: Shutterstock

Suck on a lemon to get rid of hiccups

Biting or sucking on a lemon wedge is another popular hiccup remedy. If you have time, suck on a lemon wedge soaked in non-alcoholic bitters. According to a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, this treatment cured 14 out of 16 people with hiccups, Best Health reports.

Looking for more quick fixes? Check out these classic home remedies with surprising new health benefits.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest