by Samantha Maciag
What is it about getting the hiccups that turns us into crazy people? I myself very rarely suffer this plight, but I do have numerous friends who turn into giggling, screaming psychos on a mission for a method when yet another horrible case of the hiccups plagues them. What the heck is a hiccup? A little research taught me that a hiccup is an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm. When a sudden, big rush of air flows into your lungs, it can cause your glottis (the space between your vocal chords) to close, causing that "hic" sound. People can develop hiccups from a variety of causes, such as consum- ing excessive alcoholic beverages, eat- ing or drinking too quickly, and pro- longed laughing or coughing. And though we love to hate them, hiccups can serve an important pur- pose. Sometimes they are necessary to dislodge a large chunk of food in your esophagus, or to get a slow-moving piece of food to move more quickly through the digestive track. So now that you know how and why we get hiccups, how can we cure them? You can't, really. But that cer- tainly does not stop people from try- ing. There are countless websites entirely dedicated to methods people can use for ridding themselves of hic- cups. Generally, there are two main types of cures - mental and physical. Mental cures essentially involve talking to yourself and visualization. Things like imagining your hiccups stopping (known on some websites as "mind over hiccup") and having someone bet you a million dollars that you'll never hiccup again can some- times work in the mental sphere. As for the physical aspect, the remedies are beyond strange - suck on a tablespoon of peanut butter, forced burping, drinking from a glass backwards (warning - this may result in a lap full of water), drink a shot of pickle juice, holding your breath, pulling hard on your tongue, or swal- lowing one tablespoon of dry white sugar - are all said to be legitimate cures. Most websites advise that you see a doctor if your hiccups remain for more than three days. Three days? Who in their right mind could stay in their right mind, enduring those spasms, for more than an hour? A variety of news outlets report that a 15-year-old girl in Florida has had extended bouts of the hiccups for the past couple months. According to cbsnews.com, Jennifer Mee hic- cupped as many as 50 times a minute for more than five weeks, starting Jan. 23. The hiccups stopped on Feb. 28, only to begin again on March 15 after being triggered by a nosebleed. Mee's tried many different medical proce- dures, as well as all of the old reme- dies, and nothing stopped the spasms. So, next time you are plagued with even a mildly annoying bout of the hiccups, think of Mee and her def- inite misfortune. Seriously, 50 times a minute, for almost a month - oi!