How to Help Your Hiccups

How to Help Your Hiccups (possible headline)
One thing all humans have in common is that we hiccup. We get these frustrating, inconvenient, persistent, and sometimes painful involuntary bodily functions that can only be stopped from a number of weird methods. What are hiccups really? Why do we get them? How can they be stopped? Why do these weird methods of getting rid of them work? I took a deep dive into the internet’s knowledge of hiccups in order to answer all of these questions.
According to Healthline, “a hiccup is a reflex.” There is a contraction of the diaphragm which “causes the muscles of your chest and abdomen to shake.” This makes the area in the throat where the vocal cords are located close, resulting in ‘hic’ noise that is involuntary. This irritating action happens because of many reasons, including “an overindulgent meal, a sudden change in temperature, excitement or stress, drinking carbonated drinks or alcohol, chewing gum.”
To figure out some of the best ways to get rid of hiccups, I talked to one of our own Berkley High School students, sophomore Lucy Pugh. “Some methods I have tried using to get rid of my hiccups are holding my breath, drinking water upside down, pinching my earlobe, and telling myself ‘I am not a fish.’” Pugh then goes on to say that holding her breath, drinking upside down and pinching the earlobe are almost 100% effective.
Healthline explains that holding your breath can work because it increases the carbon dioxide levels in your bloodstream. Breathing in a paper bag works similarly to holding your breath as it forces the carbon dioxide levels in the bag to increase as you breathe, resulting in increased carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “it’s been shown that as CO2 levels go up, hiccups tend to recede.”
CNN also explains why drinking liquids works to get rid of hiccups. They say that swallowing “triggers the vagus nerve, which is connected to hiccups.” Then, they say that being upside down or standing on one leg or plugin your ears also distracts the brain, further ensuring the hiccups go away. Another distraction that helps rid the hiccups are being scared as most know, but also thinking about something like cows or naming all of the people in your family.
One extra peculiar method that Pugh mentions for getting rid of hiccups that has grown in popularity across many social media platforms has been to remind yourself you are not a fish. This method grew in popularity when a viral TikTok was posted expressing that this method works without fail. After this, lots of people were also posting their success and failure stories about this method. Although most people have seen it on social media, this method actually originated in 2008 from University of Chicago anatomist Neil Shubin in his book, Your Inner Fish. He explains in simple terms that amphibians breathing through their gills is very similar to a hiccup and that we have inherited this from our amphibian ancestors. So, if we remind ourselves that we are not fish and don’t breathe from gills, we will simply not hiccup. I have tried this method several times and it is about 50/50 whether it works or not. Pugh says this method “has a 0% success rate on me.” I agree with Pugh and don’t really believe this method works, but in the end, everyone is different and has different strategies that work for them.
I hope you found this helpful as to why we get hiccups, how to get rid of them, and why these methods work.