Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hiccup, Hiccough, Hic-Cup?

There you are, at a romantic dinner with your date. The night is going well; the food is excellent, your conversation is smooth and witty, no spinach is in your teeth, no spills have occurred. Your date seems impressed and very, very interested. You smile, reach across the table to take your date's hand warmly in your own. You open your mouth to share the special connection you are feeling, and instead of sweet words of love ... HICCUP!

A hiccup (or hiccough in some circles) can be caused by many things; spicy food, laughing, eating too quickly, even nervousness. It is an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm creating a sudden rush of air into the lungs forcing the glotis (the space between vocal chords) to close. This makes the distinct hiccuping sound we all know and laugh at. Typically, hiccups go on for several minutes; though they can be a one time deal, usually caused by a fast swallow of a cold drink or during coughing fits.

The proper medical term for hiccups is Singultus, though that word seems rarely used. Hiccup was first used in 1530 and is an onomatopoeia, an imitation of natural sounds by words.

The Guinness World Records holder of the Longest Attack of Hiccups is Charles Osborne. He hiccuped for approximately 68 years between 1922 and 1990, with an estimated 430 million hiccups during that period. He died in 1991, barely a year after he ceased hiccuping, at nearly 98 years old.

Recently, Jennifer Mees, a St. Petersburg, Florida girl, suffered a severe case of hiccups which lasted 5 weeks, from January 23, 2007 until February 28, 2007. She was showcased on national television and local radio stations. In the video clip below you can learn just how constant hiccuping affected her life.

After a week of not hiccuping, Jennifer began to hiccup again on March 6, 2007 and is now on medication for it.

During Jennifer Mees' bouts of incessant hiccuping, many home remedies were recommended.

You'll Poke Your Eye Out KidThe one which made me laugh the most is a device called the Hic-Cup.

The company claims the device works by calming the Vagus and Phrenic nerves. I'll let an excerpt from the Hic-cup website explain:

"The superficially coursing Vagus and Phrenetic nerves are known by medical science to be the pathway and root cause of hiccups. Through the use of natural galvanic action, a mild ion flow is created that initiates a sub-sensory bio-electric therapy. The liquid in the Hic-Cup is also Ionized by the galvanic action, adding to the potential for successful stimulation of the responsible nerves. It is believed that the “hiccup” nerves are “re-set” by this natural ion flow that you cannot feel, and that this reliably ends the distressing spasms. " [cite]

This is done by drinking from the cup normally, with the brass rod running along the side of your face up to your temple.

Sure, it looks fairly stupid, but is it any worse than some of the home remedies people try now? Breathing into a paper sack, having the hiccups scared out of you, eating tablespoons of sugar, jumping up and down ... literally dozens of home-brew, sure-fire remedies of dubious efficacy exist.

I don't know if this device actually works as claimed. But, for about $20 you can buy one, try it for 30 days, and return it for a refund if it doesn't, according to the Hic-Cup website.

I'll stick my own. self-devised remedy.

Stand flat-footed, with feet together. Raise both arms over your head, stretching your chest and abdomen as you do. Tilt your head back as far as you comfortably can, with your mouth wide open, as if yawning. Take several deep breaths, then hold your breath for 30 seconds, or as long as you can.

It sounds as ridiculous as the device above, but it tends to work for myself and my kids most of the time. I don't know why, I don't know how, and I have no clue what made me come up with the routine. But it didn't run me $20, and I don't look any dumber doing it than anything else I do in the course of a day. ~.^

Today's Penny Doubled Daily Cumulative Amount for 102 days is:


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Jason h said...
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