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Now, persistent hiccups an unusual symptom, warning sign of COVID-19


New Delhi, Aug 21: While earlier fever, dry cough, sore throat and breathlessness were considered the hallmarks of COVID-19, new data shows a multitude of symptoms that were not reported previously. As time passed by, other symptoms emerged, including the loss of smell and taste, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, body pains, headache, hair loss, dizziness and even a rash in the mouth in some patients.

Is persistent hiccups an unusual sign of COVID-19?

Now, a team of researchers revealed another unusual symptom reported by patients infected with the coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is that: persistent hiccups.

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A detailed case report was recently published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine suggests that persistent hiccups, otherwise known as hiccoughs, could actually be a symptom of Covid-19.

After the doctors conducted X-ray on a patient to understand the cause of persistent hiccups, they found abnormal ground glass-like opacities in both his lungs.

These abnormalities appeared as hazy areas in his lungs and signified some sort of damage to the lungs, inflammation or bleeding as per Bruce Y. Lee, MD, professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health.

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    Going by the findings of the X-ray, doctors further conducted a CT scan which confirmed the inflammation of lungs, which may have triggered the hiccups. The patient was admitted to COVID-19 unit after the doctors decided to test him for novel coronavirus. By the time he was admitted, he developed a fever of 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit and his heart rate also went up.

    According to the case report, just after a day of admission the patient also tested positive for COVID-19.

    The researchers noted that his persist hiccups were linked to coronavirus, even though the gradual weight loss did not seem to have any connection to the disease.

    What are Hiccups?

    Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm - the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic "hic" sound.

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    What causes Hiccups?

    Hiccups can happen for a lot of reasons and the most common triggers for hiccups that last less than 48 hours include:

    • Drinking carbonated beverages
    • Drinking too much alcohol
    • Eating too much
    • Excitement or emotional stress
    • Sudden temperature changes
    • Swallowing air with chewing gum or sucking on candy

    Nerve damage or irritation

    Factors that may cause damage or irritation to these nerves include:

    A hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum

    A tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck

    Gastroesophageal reflux

    Sore throat or laryngitis

    Central nervous system disorders

    Examples include:



    Multiple sclerosis


    Traumatic brain injury


    Metabolic disorders and drugs

    Long-term hiccups can be triggered by:

    1. Alcoholism
    2. Anesthesia
    3. Barbiturates
    4. Diabetes
    5. Electrolyte imbalance
    6. Kidney disease
    7. Steroids
    8. Tranquilizers

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