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RealSimple: What Causes Hiccups? And More Tricky Kid Questions

What Causes Hiccups?

Hiccups usually occur when the stomach rubs against and irritates the diaphragm, a muscle at the bottom of the rib cage. An irritated diaphragm pulls back fast, forcing air sharply into the lungs, says Norman H. Edelman, M.D., the chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. When the air hits your voice box, you hiccup. This happens repeatedly until the irritation stops.

Why is Yawning Contagious?
Two Italian scientists studied this puzzling phenomenon just last year: They believe that contagious yawning shows empathy. (When you yawn after your mom does, maybe you’re saying, “I hear you. I’m sleepy, too.”) In fact, we’re more likely to “catch” a yawn from a close friend or a family member than from an acquaintance or a stranger.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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