If you are a klutz, it may mean you often get hiccoughs. In my case, these usually occur at the same time as a fit of coughing and a need to sneeze, which is exactly how it sounds – completely miserable and more than a little ridiculous. AS I stumbled around the office today, trying to get things accomplished in just such a state, one of my co-workers recommended a big spoonful of peanut butter, a trick he learned from his wife. Evidently the sticky consistency of the peanut butter helps to re-regulate breathing and digestion. I decided to try it, as holding my breath had failed as usual. I only had chunky peanut butter, but about five spoonfuls later, I was fine.
Some questions naturally resulted. What, exactly, is a hiccough? What causes them? Are there any really documented solutions, or are you just better off waiting until they stop? They can become chronic, of course, but I’d never had something that bad happen to me. Yet. Did the peanut butter really help me then? Or was it just another old wives’ tale meant to pacify the hiccougher with peanut butter’s goodness while they were in distress?
After a bit of research, I found that they can be caused by just about anything to do with breathing. Some of the rarer, more interesting causes are: electrolyte imbalance, chemotherapy, or pressure to the phrenic nerve. Home remedies include a variety of poses, breathing instructions, and substances, including some that just make you look silly. How desperate are we to ‘Plug your ears with your thumbs, and use your pinkies to plug both nostrils and hold your breath until cessation of hiccups’? Medically, when persistent and possibly dangerous, they are treated with drugs. Lovely. Aren’t we a grand society? I think I’ll stick with the peanut butter – mmm, chunky.