Medicine: Hie Transit

One of the earliest recorded victims of chronic hiccups was the poet Aristophanes (circa 448-385 B.C.), a very hearty eater. On his physician's advice, he tried holding his breath and gargling water — both with out success. In desperation, he learned how to tickle his nose until he sneezed, which helped somewhat as a counterirritant.

Because hiccup seizures are usually short-lived and only mildly painful, most people refuse to take them seriously. The victims are generally objects of ridicule. In most homes, a hiccup attack is still the signal to dust off all...

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