How to Get Rid of Hiccups: 18 Home Remedies That Actually Work
The next time you're struck with a bad case of the hiccups, reach for these old-school home remedies.
How to get rid of hiccups
Ever notice that hiccups seem to strike at the worst possible moment? Whether you’re sitting in a hushed theatre or settling into the dentist’s chair, you suddenly find yourself wracked with the uncontrollable spasm in your diaphragm that—try as you might—you can’t contain. Find out how to get rid of hiccups with these time-tested home remedies. There are 18 potential hiccup cures in total, so if the first one doesn’t work, simply move on to the next!
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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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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Massage your neck
If targeting those pressure points on your hands doesn’t work, try massaging or rubbing the carotid arteries on the right and left sides of your neck.
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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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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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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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.
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.
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Or swallow something sour
Take a teaspoonful of vinegar. Its sour taste could stop a hiccup in its tracks.
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Have some peanut butter
A big spoonful of peanut butter is a classic cure if you’re wondering 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.
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.
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.
A 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.
Chew up some dill
Here’s a simple, pleasant-tasting trick 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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Breathe into a paper bag
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 scientifically unproven, it might provide relief, according to Mayo Clinic.
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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.
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Suck on a lemon to get rid of hiccups
Biting or sucking on a lemon wedge is another popular hiccup remedy. If you have them handy, soak the lemon wedge in non-alcoholic bitters first. According to a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, this treatment cured 14 out of 16 people with hiccups, Best Health reports.
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