The People's Perspective on Medicine

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.

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
4.7- 6 ratings
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. .
Get the latest health news right in your inbox

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

Screenshots of The People's Pharmacy website on mobile devices of various sizes
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 16 comments
Comments
Add your comment

I’ve had sudden attacks of hiccups for decades. I’ve discovered three methods that work for me:
(1) take in a deep breath, hold it, and press gently but firmly against the center of your chest between breasts, and hold that pressure for a few moments until you feel a hiccup. Without relaxing the pose, renew holding your breath and applying gentle but firm pressure until the bout of hiccups ends

(2) fill a glass halfway with water, and bend over the sink, drinking from the OPPOSITE, far rim of the glass.

(3) using your thumbs, simultaneously press the areas over both eyebrows.

I have used this method to stop the hiccups and it works every time ( I do not bet unless I know I will win – and have bet on this every time and won ) I do not care what you put in a baby bottle EVEN BEER but drink from that baby bottle and your hiccups will be gone……….

Drinking pineapple juice stops the hiccups without holding your breath.

Tip to cure hiccups. Put a finger in your ear – like you are try to stop up the ear hole. Now pull the tab at the front of the ear forward and hold it for a while or until there are no more hiccups . This has cured mine and my children’s hiccups for years. Try it – it doesn’t cost anything.

I take a deep breath and hold it as long as is comfortably possible, while keeping internal pressure against my chest. Once in a while, it takes doing this routine twice to make the hiccups quit. I think it relaxes whatever muscle is spasming in the diaphragm.

Press gently (use fleshy underside of finger next to thumb) but firmly on the little “dimple” right under the nose, above upper lip. This is an acupressure point.

I learned a good cure for hiccups quite accidentally many years ago. One of the children had the hiccups right before we began our Bible Fellowship. We started with prayer and then sang some songs. Sure enough, when we all were finished singing, her hiccups were gone. The intake of air required for singing relaxed her diaphragm and her hiccups stopped. I never forgot that and to this day, I will sing one or two songs and the hiccups stop. It’s a good thing it usually happens at home and not in public!

I stop hiccups by sticking my fingers in my ears, and swallowing a few times. That works better for me, then anything else. I have no idea why it works. I read about that in a magazine article, many years ago. A spoonful of sugar is somewhat helpful, too.

Amazing advice. About 12:30 last night I awoke with hiccups. They didn’t stop so I didn’t get any sleep. Today I’ve had them off and on. I’m going to try the 7 sips, then the others if it doesn’t work.

My hint only works once with one person. Depending on the age; two quarters for the very young, 5 dollars for adults.
What I do is wait for a hiccup then immediately place the money in front of them and say, “you may pick up that money after you next hiccup”. This only works a little more than half the time but when it does it is loads of fun. Years ago I was in a bar and a man sitting next to mead a very bad case. I put a 5 dollar bill on the bar and spoke the quote above and he stopped immediately. He was so appreciative that he bought me drinks the rest of the night.
Bob A in Houston

Yes, I to know about Bullwinkle but—Hold breath, seven sips, through a straw with you fingers in your ears. Works every time.

Drink water thru a papertowel. It works everytime!

Here’s a remedy for hiccups I learned in a class on ACUPRESSURE.
Gently press on the two protuberances (knobs) at the base of your skull. Don’t press hard…use about the amount of pressure you’d exert if you were pressing on your eyeballs.
It works for some reason.
:-)

When you get the hiccups – Take a glass of water and put it to your mouth and sip and inhale, exhale, keeping the glass in the sipping position. Continue this, breathing into the glass while sipping) until you feel you have passed what would have been the next hiccup. Cured! Works every time. If you happen to hiccup during the process, just continue and it will work.

Great tip for hiccups. I wonder where that word came from.
I am happy to tell you that whatever is wrong with my large toe, Vinegar and Listerine is helping tremendously.
Thanks to everyone, Karen

I am going to share my experience with hiccups. I watched a Dr Oz show and he said to gurgle with ice water. I had a terrible bout of the hiccups one night and I decided to try it and I was amazed by the results. It works. Try it !!!!

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^