June 22, 2021 — A Texas doctor says you don’t have to breathe into a paper bag, suck on a lemon, or use other Mom-endorsed remedies when you’ve got a case of the hiccups.
Instead, you can sip water through an L-shaped, hard plastic straw marketed as the HiccAway, says inventor Ali Seifi, MD.
How does it work? According to instructions on the HiccAway website, you stick the straw into a glass of water and suck in water two or three times, immediately swallowing after each sip.
You must suck hard because there’s a valve in the end of the straw, which has two settings: adult and child.
The scientific explanation on the website is that all that sipping “lowers the diaphragm while opening first, and then closing the epiglottis (the leaf-shaped flap in the throat that keeps food out of the windpipe). Doing so stimulates at the same time the ‘Phrenic’ and ‘Vagus’ nerves, allowing the brain to ‘reset’ and stop the hiccups.”
Seifi is an associate professor of neurosurgery and director of the neurological intensive care unit at University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He said he invented the HiccAway after noticing patients who had hiccups while getting chemotherapy and other treatments.
Seifi and associates did a study in which 249 volunteers used the invention. About two-thirds of them said they got hiccups at least once a month. According to results published in JAMA Open Network, 92% of the volunteers said the HiccAway worked for them.
Rhys Thomas, MD, an epilepsy neuroscientist at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, told The Guardian that the device probably will work, but noted, “I think this is a solution to a problem that nobody has been asking for.”
He said his own way of curing hiccups was plugging his ears while drinking water through a normal straw.
Seifi is seeking a patent for the HiccAway.