After suffering from the same case of hiccups for over a month, you might be desperate for a solution. You might—as 21-year-old Anna Mayer did in 1944—even reach out to the president for a special dispensation to have your local doctor excused from his military service to come back to Queens and cure you. Don't have a direct line to the president? Don't worry. You don't even have to wait till your hiccups reach the level of national crisis to try the cures below. Most of these home remedies work by overwhelming the vagus nerve—which causes hiccups when it becomes irritated—with another sensation.
1. Place a teaspoonful of sugar on the back of your tongue.
2. Stick your fingers in your ears. (The same vagus nerve has branches in your auditory system.)
3. Gargle with water long enough to interrupt the hiccup cycle.
4. Breathe into a paper bag (not so long that you pass out!) to "distract" your nervous system with ridding the body of an increasing level of carbon dioxide.
5. Eat a big spoonful of peanut butter—the process of chewing the sticky stuff should distract your breathing away from the hiccups.
6. Eat some powdered chocolate mix. Swallowing the spoonful isn't easy and should short-circuit the hiccups.
7. Place a paper towel over the top of a glass, then drink water through the towel. You'll have to "pull" harder with your diaphragm to suck up the liquid and that should reset your breathing.
8. Stick out your tongue to stimulate the opening between the vocal cords and allow yourself to breathe more smoothly.
9. Swallow a teaspoon of vinegar, if you can. Suck on a lemon for the same sour effect.
10. Hold the top of a door frame and then lean forward.
11. Some people claim you can distract yourself out of having the hiccups so try to occupy your mind with tasks like reciting the alphabet backwards.
12. Take gulps of water in rapid succession; rhythmic contractions of the esophagus override spasms of the diaphragm.
13. Drink from the "opposite" side of the glass. This one is tricky and requires you to tilt your head almost upside down.
14. Go for the tried-and-true scare tactic, which is just another form of mental distraction.
15. A long, hopefully passionate kiss supposedly does the trick—as long as your hiccups don't ruin the mood.