[Via Thinkstock Images]
Everyone gets the hiccups. Whether they appear out of the blue or they’re brought on by a night of overindulgence, they are an annoyance that nobody wants to wait out.
Usually they pass before too long, but sometimes they can last for a long time. An American by the name of Charles Osborne holds the Guinness World Record for the longest bout of hiccups ever recorded.
His hiccups first started in 1922 while weighing a hog for slaughter. As he says, “I was hanging a 350 pound hog for butchering. I picked it up and then I fell down. I felt nothing, but the doctor said later that I busted a blood vessel the size of a pin in my brain.” The result being that he damaged a small part of his brain that inhibits the hiccup response, according to Dr. Terence Anthoney who treated Osborne later in life.
In the beginning, Osborne’s hiccups occurred at a rate of around 40 times per minute on average. Throughout his life, this gradually slowed to about 20 hiccups per minute until they finally stopped mysteriously about one year before his death in 1991. It is estimated that he hiccuped over 430 million times in his lifetime!
I can’t imagine the liberation he must have felt when the hiccups stopped… And how disappointing it must have been to only live a year longer after they stopped.
Fortunately, for most people, the hiccups don’t last nearly as long. Even still, a few minutes is too long for most folks so people have developed their own hiccup “cures.” It seems like everyone you ask has a different one though.
For example, my friend Venetia. The other night, she developed a case of the hiccups after we had a few drinks together. Her solution?
It was to drink a glass of water with a butter knife sticking out of it. SPOILER: It didn’t work, she was still hiccuping after (though if you ask her, it was the slow-release method. Hours later, she wasn’t hiccuping anymore).
This is a method I’d never seen before, and even though it didn’t really work, it made me curious to see what other folks believe will cure their hiccups… So I posed the question to Wolf listeners on our page on Facebook. I was really impressed with the reaction it got, too. Thanks for joining the conversation everyone!
Here are YOUR responses:
- Drink a cup of water upside down. (Seems like it might be a challenge to do this without spilling it all over yourself, but if you can manage, good on ya!)
- Eat a spoonful of peanut butter.
- Eat a spoonful of sugar.
- Put a spoon in a glass of water with the spoon end on your nose and drink the water. (Similar to the knife trick, but maybe slightly less dangerous)
- Drink a glass of water through a paper towel. (My mom used to get me to do this as a kid, and I remember it working on a few different occasions.)
- Say “now” out loud right before you hiccup. (Mind over matter)
- Stephen Jackson says he looks at the Leafs swag and starts choking. David Wakeford said that at first he thought Venetia was being scared by the Maple Leafs flag in the room. This method probably wouldn’t work for Leafs fans.
- Plug your ears until they stop.
- Have someone ask you to prove you have the hiccups. (Apparently this makes them go away)
- Have someone ask you if they remember that 20 dollars they owe you, so you’re so distracted thinking about the money that the hiccups go away
- Along the same lines: When someone has the hiccups, walk up to them and ask them “When was the last time you seen a white horse?” They get thinking and forget they have the hiccups.
- Eat a dill pickle. (Really? It’s that easy?)
- Remind your brain that you’re not a fish.
- Hold your breath or plug your ears and/or nose while drinking a glass of water.
- Ask someone a question that they know the answer to but have to stop and think of it, say for example, the third letter of their middle name, or anything really, and the hiccups will be gone.
- 9 small sips and 1 BIG sip for the 10th one.
- Eat a single slice of bread.
- 2 Tums. (Apparently they’re not just for heartburn!)
- Barbara Davies had a correction for Venetia’s method: The knife, or spoon, is supposed to be laying across your mouth as you drink the water. Not in the glass or in your mouth. Just across. It makes you chug
One listener called up to share his method:
But the method that seems to have worked best for me most recently was shared by Danielle Kensit and a few other listeners who replied. Here it is:
- Take the biggest breath possible while holding it take one more big breath into your lungs hold it as long as possible and then slowly release the air. This puts pressure on your epiglottis and works every time
That’s actually a method that was recently taught to me by The Wolf’s own Matt Diamond, and it worked quite well.
Got a hiccup cure that’s not listed here? Post it in the comments!