“Would you ‘hic’… please pass me the ‘hic’…”
A Hiccup also knows as Hiccough is a biological phenomenon that starts in the diaphragm.
The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle found at the bottom of ones chest that assists a person in the process of breathing.
When working perfectly, it pulls down to help pull air into the lungs when a person in inhaling and it pushes up to help push air out of the lungs when the individual is exhaling.
However, when the diaphragm gets irritated, it pulls down suddenly and in a jerky way causing the individual to suddenly suck in air through the throat. When this air rapidly hits the epiglottis, it produces the ‘hic’ sound.
Doctors attribute the irritation of the diaphragm to various things. For instance, eating too much or eating too quickly can cause the diaphragm to react.
Also, hiccups may be ignited by feelings of nervousness or excitement in some individuals.
Some foods and beverages such as alcohol and other carbonated drinks are said to cause irritation to the nerves in the diaphragm area thus causing it to react.
Severe and persistent hiccups are usually treated in hospital such as in the case of a 15-year-old girl who, in 2007, hiccupped continuously for five weeks. Such cases are treated with anti-spasmodic medicine or other more complex procedures.
However, medical advice states that ordinary hiccups are usually cured without any medical intervention.
Nevertheless, there are a number of home remedies that people have come up with and claim to work. They include giving the afflicted a fright or shock or drinking water (sometimes in an unorthodox manner), holding one’s breath for some time or altering one’s breathing patterns.