How to get rid of hiccups. Your guide to what hiccups are and if they can be deadly.

Hiccups are an uncomfortable bodily phenomenon that most people know far better than they likely would prefer. During the occurrence, your diaphragm, the primary breathing muscle, experiences an involuntary movement. The second part of a hiccup is your vocal cords quickly and unexpectedly closing, resulting in the “hic” itself, says MedlinePlus, under the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine.

As nice as it is to know what hiccups are, chances are you’re far more interested in how to get rid of them, including with gripe water, by whatever means necessary.

How to get rid of hiccups

Hiccups can be stopped by “breathing into a paper bag”, “drinking a glass of cold water”, “holding your breath” or “gargling ice water” according to MedlinePlus.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service recommends the previous methods, as well as swallowing granulated sugar, biting on lemon, tasting vinegar or pulling your knees up to your chest and leaning forward.

Additionally, Australia’s Department of Health suggests eating fresh ginger, drinking a hot water and honey drink and having someone scare the hiccups out of you.

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It’s important to communicate openly with your health care team about the emotional and physical challenges you face.
It’s important to communicate openly with your health care team about the emotional and physical challenges you face.

How can you get hiccups?

MedlinePlus explains eating too much too quickly, spicy foods, carbonation, nervousness, excitement and some medicines can cause hiccups. Australia’s Department of Health adds cigarette smoking, pregnancy, alcohol and bad odors as other reasons for hiccups.

Does gripe water get rid of hiccups?

Some advocate gripe water as a solution to hiccups, especially in babies. Sold at retail locations like Target and Walmart, Healthline calls it a “combination of herbs and water.” The supplement, unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, has yet to be clinically proven to help with hiccups in infants

Healthline recommends parents and caretakers of children, before giving your baby something new, like gripe water, discuss it with the baby’s doctor.

Can hiccups be deadly?

Hiccups are not evidently deadly, yet they can be symptomatic of a hidden medical condition, such as digestive, brain or lung issues that need to be treated by a medical professional.

Hiccups lasting longer than two days or interfering with your daily activities should be examined by a doctor, as they could be indicative of an underlying health condition, says Healthline. Hiccups usually disappear on their own within several minutes.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to get rid of hiccups and what they are. What you should know.