In January 2013, 13-years-old Emily Marsh, from the United Kingdom, was on her way to math class when she began to hiccup. At first it was funny but now, three months later, not so much. Emily hiccups every 2 seconds and has been hiccuping continuously, even while she sleeps, for over three months. The physical action is so exhausting, she has to take afternoons off from school to rest. She has undergone a series of tests, including an ultrasound scan, chest X-ray, endoscopy and MRI scan, but doctors have so far been unable to cure her condition. She has tried sucking on sweets, a spoonful of vinegar, osteopathy, hypnosis, sneezing, gargling, and other old-wives tales but to date, she is still hiccuping.
Emily explained to the Telegraph:
“I’ve tried drinking backwards, holding my breath and people at school have been trying to scare me a lot.”
Extended hiccupping (which has been proposed to be an evolutionary remnant of earlier amphibian respiration) bouts are unusual but not unheard of. Other cases of people who have experienced chronic hiccupping include the American, Charles Osborne, who is in the Guinness Book of World Records after having hiccups for 68 years from 1922 to 1990 – when they mysteriously stopped.