Hiccups happen when the muscles in the chest and throat suddenly tighten. This can be caused by eating or drinking too much or too fast. Sometimes an attack of hiccups can last for several hours, in which case it becomes very serious, but usually an attack lasts for only a few minutes.
Although hiccups would probably disappear if nothing is done about them, everyone has their favorite way of getting rid of them. Hiccup cures include a sudden shock, drinking water backwards out of the wrong side of the cup, holding your breath, or dropping a cold key against your chest or down the back of your neck. Hiccups were also believed to be caused by someone who had spoken your name. You had to say the name of everyone you knew until you got the right person and only then would the hiccups stop!
Hiccups are however no laughing matter. If the attack goes on for any length of time they can lead to oxygen starvation and can be fatal.