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Uploaded:2017-08-01
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Hiccups can be really annoying and hard to get rid of, but do you know why they happen? Find out the answer and learn more about how your lungs work at the same time on today's SciShow Kids!
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SOURCES:
http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/hiccup.html
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/hiccups/article_em.htm
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=152&id=2412
Squeaks and I were just talking about our plans for today.

It’s really nice out, so we were thinking about going for a hike in the woods! What do you think, Squeaks? [Squeaks hiccups] It's alright, Squeaks, you have the hiccups! [Squeaks squeaks] Yeah, they can be kind of annoying. [Squeaks squeaks and hiccups] Why do hiccups happen?

That’s a good question, Squeaks! When you hiccup, that’s your body breathing in little gulps of air really quickly. When you breathe in and out, air is moving in and out of your lungs, which are kind of like two little balloons inside your chest.

But there’s another part of your body that’s also really important for breathing. It’s called your diaphragm, and it’s a muscle that’s right below your lungs, at the bottom of your rib-cage. Your muscles are in charge of moving your body around.

When you raise your hand, you’re using muscles to move your arm. And when you breathe, you’re using your diaphragm muscle to make your lungs get bigger and smaller as you breathe air in and out. [Squeaks hiccups] But sometimes, your diaphragm spasms, meaning that it gets kind of twitchy. Instead of helping you breathe in and out the normal way, it randomly makes you breathe in little gasps of air!

That’s what we call the hiccups. There are all kinds of things that can get the hiccups started, like eating too quickly or even some kinds of medicine. And sometimes they just happen, and we don’t know why!

Like with Squeaks here! [Squeaks hiccups and squeaks] Ah, good questions! Where does the noise come from? Normally when you breathe, you don’t make sounds.

But you do make a little hic! sound when you hiccup! That sound is your vocal folds moving together. Your vocal folds are the part of your body that helps you make sounds when you talk.

They’re like little flaps inside your throat, and they make sounds by vibrating. When you hiccup, that sudden gulp of air makes your vocal folds slap together. That’s what makes the hic! noise! [Squeaks hiccups and squeaks] Yeah, I don’t blame you!

Squeaks wants to know how he can get rid of his hiccups. You might have heard of some weird ways to do that, like having a friend scare you. But that doesn’t work very well.

Since the hiccups are caused by your diaphragm being a little twitchy, to get rid of them, you need to get your diaphragm moving normally again. One way to do that is to drink a big glass of water. That can kind of distract your diaphragm, and get it to stop spasming when you start breathing again after you drink.

It doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes the hiccups can be really stubborn, and you just have to wait it out! They’ll go away eventually.

Speaking of which: Squeaks, your hiccups are gone! [Squeaks squeaks] Thanks for joining us on SciShow Kids! Do you have questions about how your body works, or anything at all? Ask a grownup to help you leave a comment, or send us an email at kids@scishow.com.

Thanks, and we'll see you next time here at the Fort!