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How to Cure the Hiccups

When you have the hiccups, everyone has a remedy. The truth is, there are no scientifically proven cures that do the trick every time. But here are the most common ones that work for most people, most of the time.


  • Step 1: Hold your breath Hold your breath. Hiccups are caused by spasms of the diaphragm; stop breathing, and the spasms stop. Doing something that prohibits you from breathing—like drinking a full glass of water—can help.
  • TIP: Be sure to exhale before you hold your breath, or this won’t work.
  • Step 2: Breathe into a paper bag No luck holding your breath? Try breathing into a paper bag. This traps the carbon dioxide you exhale, allowing you to inhale it in more concentrated levels. This, in turn, increases the level of carbon dioxide in your blood, which can cut off hiccups.
  • Step 3: Relax the vagus nerve Still hiccupping? Pull your tongue, sip ice water, or swallow dry bread. All three can relax the vagus nerve, which can cause hiccups when it’s been irritated by things like swallowed air.
  • Step 4: Have someone frighten you Time to resort to the old 'have someone scare you' trick. But the person better make it good. This only works if the hiccuper is so startled that he gasps, thereby resetting his breathing pattern.
  • Step 5: Don’t overindulge In the future, try to stop hiccups before they start. Common causes include drinking too much alcohol, stuffing yourself silly with food, and swallowing foods before they have a chance to cool or defrost.
  • FACT: Charles Osborne from Anthon, Iowa, had the hiccups continuously for 68 years, starting in 1922. He died one year after they finally stopped.

You Will Need

  • A paper bag
  • Ice water
  • Dry bread
  • Someone to scare you

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