Brazil’s President Bolsonaro is admitted to hospital for HICCUPS that have lasted for more than ten days
- Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was hospitalised in Brasilia on Wednesday
- His press office said he was ‘feeling unwell’ but was in good spirits in hospital
- Previously said he gets recurring hiccups that can go uninterrupted for days
- Latest health scare for Bolsonaro, who was stabbed while campaigning in 2018
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to hospital on Wednesday with hiccups that have lasted for more than ten days.
Bolsonaro, 66, was taken to the Armed Forces Hospital in Brasilia early on Wednesday and was ‘feeling unwell’ but was in good spirits, a statement from the presidency’s press office said.
Doctors will keep him under observation for 24 to 48 hours either at the hospital or at home to determine what has caused the persistent hiccups.
Bolsonaro has appeared to struggle with speaking on various occasions in recent weeks and suggested medication prescribed by a dental surgery on June 3 might be the cause.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (pictured, speaking during a ceremony in Brasilia on Tuesday) was admitted to hospital on Wednesday with hiccups that have lasted for days
‘I apologize to everyone who is listening to me, because I’ve been hiccuping for five days now,’ Bolsonaro said in an interview with Radio Guaiba on July 7. ‘I have the hiccups 24 hours a day.’
The following day, during his weekly Facebook Live session, Bolsonaro apologised again for not being able to express himself well due to week-long hiccups.
Bolsonaro has said on various occasions that he suffers from recurring hiccups that can go uninterrupted for days.
Doctors have speculated the rare ailment could stem from repeated abdomen surgery after he was stabbed in the gut, and seriously injured, on the campaign trail in 2018.
Then-presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro reacts after being stabbed during a campaign rally in Juiz de Fore, Brazil, in 2018
WHAT ARE HICCUPS?
Hiccups occur when the diaphragm suddenly and involuntarily contracts, resulting in a hiccup sound being produced at the top of the windpipe.
Hiccups are a reflex action, which means we do not have control over them.
While short bouts are common and harmless, those that last longer than 48 hours are known as persistent hiccups – and sufferers should contact their doctor to see if there is an underlying condition.
In rare cases hiccups last longer than a month – known as intractable hiccups.
They can be caused by emotional stress, eating too fast, and drinking alcohol.
In rare cases they can be caused by an underlying condition, such as acid reflux or medications such as steroids.
However, sometimes a cause can’t be pinpointed.
Remedies for short-term hiccups include sipping iced water, biting on a lemon, drawing the knees up to compress the chest and controlled breathing.
Local media reported the surgeon who operated on Bolsonaro after the stabbing, Antônio Luiz Macedo, had been called to hospital.
The Brazilian president has had several operations to repair the damage and is expected to go under the knife once more later this year after developing a hernia.
He has had several other health scares.
In July last year, Bolsonaro caught Covid-19 but recovered. In appearances over the last few months, he has had a stubborn cough, sparking concerns over his health.
On Tuesday night, in a 20-minute encounter with the president in Brasilia, supporters repeatedly asked him to look after his health.
The stabbing was widely credited for propelling Bolsonaro to an election landslide against leftwing opposition leader Fernando Haddad.
But the Brazilian president has seen his popularity tumble to new lows with only 24 per cent of Brazilians saying his administration is ‘good’ or ‘great’, following his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last month anti-government protesters took to the streets across the country as the nation’s confirmed virus death toll soared past half a million – a tragedy many blame on Bolsonaro’s attempt to minimise the disease.
Critics say Bolsonaro’s promotion of disproven treatments such as hydroxychloroquine, have contributed to the soaring death toll and a sluggish vaccine campaign that has fully inoculated less than 12 per cent of the population.
A special Senate committee is probing the Bolsonaro administration’s pandemic response, highlighting delayed efforts to acquire vaccines while prioritising unproven treatments for Covid-19.