Comprehension and Vocabulary – Text 2: Choking on food

Read the text below. Then complete the exercises which follow.

Choking on food 

A common emergency is choking on food, or any inhaled or swallowed foreign body. Choking is caused by blockage of any part of the airway – the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice-box), trachea (windpipe) or bronchi (air passages from the trachea to the lungs). Most cases of choking occur when food or drink “goes down the wrong way”, that is, when it enters the trachea and bronchi instead of passing from the pharynx into the oesophagus (gullet). Since the victim cannot talk because of the blocked trachea, it is important that others recognize the danger and act promptly. A person who chokes will try to expel the object by forceful coughing. The victim should be encouraged to cough up the obstruction. If this fails, the rescuer should bend the victim over and slap him between the shoulder blades. If this does not work, abdominal thrusts should be given to dislodge the obstructing object. In this method, the victim is clasped from behind by the rescuer. He then places one fist under the sternum (breastbone) of the victim and clasps the fist with the other hand. The rescuer then makes a quick, hard thrusting movement inwards and upwards until the foreign object is impelled out of the trachea, and the victim is able to breathe.

Checking Comprehension 

Mark each statement below T (true) or F (false). Correct the statements that are false.

___ 1. Choking is caused by blockage of the pharynx.

___ 2. A person who is choking should try his best to cough up the obstructing object on his own.

___ 3. The first thing the rescuer should do is to slap the choking victim on the back.

___ 4. Abdominal thrusts should be given after back blows have failed to dislodge the obstructing object.

___ 5. When giving abdominal thrusts to a choking victim, the rescuer should grasp the victim’s hands firmly.

___ 6. Bronchi are part of the skeleton.

Vocabulary Practice 

Match the medical words with the common words that mean the same by writing the correct numbers on the lines. Use a dictionary, if necessary.

1. larynx _____ breastbone

2. trachea _____ voice-box

3. bronchi _____ throat

4. sternum _____ windpipe

5. pharynx _____ air passages from the trachea to the lungs

6. oesophagus _____ shoulder blade

7.thorax _____ gullet

8. scapula _____ chest