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A Tip from a TV Cartoon Stops Hiccups Every Time

Q. I really appreciate the tips, updates and news in your column. When I read advice about halting hiccups, I’m reminded about the only sure-fire way I’ve ever found to stop hiccups–and I learned it from the “Bullwinkle Show” when I was a kid. Honest!

Bullwinkle’s advice? Take seven sips of water while holding your breath. This simple trick has always worked for me–and everyone I’ve ever shared it with–for more than 20 years. Make sure each of the seven sips is completely swallowed.

A. Many hiccup remedies involve sipping or swallowing. In one, the hiccup victim must drink from the wrong side of the cup. (It’s necessary to bend over.) In another, the sufferer drinks several swallows of water while an accomplice presses on both ear flaps (technically called the tragus).

Hiccups are thought to happen when a signal to the phrenic nerve goes awry. Stimulating that nerve in the roof of the mouth with a spoonful of granulated sugar or a lemon wedge soaked with Angostura bitters seems to interrupt the hiccup cycle. That is probably what Bullwinkle’s advice accomplishes. Thanks for sharing it. You’ll find more hiccup remedies, if you’d like, in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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