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You should see a doctor if the hiccups become chronic and persistent (if they last more than 3 hours), or if they affect your sleeping patterns or interfere with eating.

A case of the hiccups is rarely a medical emergency. If your hiccups last for more than 3 hours, occur with severe abdominal pain, or you spit up blood, however, you should seek medical attention.

Self-Care at Home

Numerous home remedies for hiccups exist. The reason that these remedies are thought to work is that carbon dioxide build-up in the blood will stop hiccups, which is what happens when you hold your breath. If the vague nerve that runs from the brain to the stomach is stimulated, hiccups can also be alleviated (this is what is happening when you drink water or pull on your tongue).

Try these methods at home:

  • Hold your breath.
  • Drink a glass of water quickly.
  • Become frightened.
  • Use smelling salts.
  • Pull hard on your tongue.
  • Place one-half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of your tongue. (You can repeat this process 3 times at 2-minute intervals. Use corn syrup, not sugar, in young children.)

In healthy people, hiccups usually go away by themselves with no serious effects after that. If hiccups continue, however, they may cause social embarrassment and distress.


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