Quiz - Singultus Scene

You have likely suffered from a case of singultus many times in your life without knowing it. That’s because most people know this condition by its nickname: hiccups. These unintentional spasms of the diaphragm (the muscle at the base of the lungs) are not generally serious, which is a good thing considering that we are still not sure what causes them. Take this quiz to see what else you know (or don’t know) about singultus. Answers are below.

1. Hiccups are common and normal in newborns and infants.
A. True
B. False

2. The one SURE way to stop hiccups is:
A. Breathe repeatedly into a paper bag.
B. Drink a glass of cold water.
C. Eat a teaspoon of sugar.
D. Hold your breath.
E. None of the above.

3. The distinctive hiccup sound is caused by:
A. The rings of the trachea expanding and contracting
B. Moisture in the throat
C. Quick closing of the vocal cords
D. Air racing out of the lungs

4. Which of the following is NOT a common cause of hiccups?
A. Disorders that irritate the nerves that control the diaphragm
B. Abdominal surgery
C. Hot and spicy foods or liquids
D. Sudden force to the abdomen that causes a diaphragm to spasm
E. Stroke or tumor affecting the brain

5. Hiccups never last more than a few minutes.
A. True
B. False


1. A. True

2. E. None of the above. There is no sure way to stop hiccups, but the other answers above are common suggestions for home care and may sometimes help.

3. C. The diaphragm spasm is immediately followed by a quick closing of the vocal cords, which produces the distinctive sound.

4. D. The diaphragm spasm caused by sudden force to the abdomen (which then puts pressure on the solar plexus) is commonly known as “getting the wind knocked out of you.”

5. B. False. Though it is rare, hiccups can last for days, weeks, or months at a time. 
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