Questions 6 through 11.
Listen to part of a lecture in a biology class.
M: One type of immune response has to do with bees actually any insect of that class, including hornets and fire ants. If you’ve ever been stung or bitten, you know how painful it is. But stings and bites usually aren’t dangerous, unless you have lots of them at the same time, or unless you have an allergic reaction to the venom. A massive allergic reaction to a sting is known as anaphylaxis. The term anaphylaxis is Greek for “a lack of protection.” But the name is sort of inaccurate. Anaphylaxis is actually a disease, a severe form of allergic, um, over–response by the immune system when it’s suddenly faced with a foreign substance. That foreign substance is the bee’s venom, or in some cases it’s certain foods, like nuts, eggs, and shellfish … or drugs, especially antibiotics like penicillin. Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock is one of those true emergencies where minutes can make the difference between life and death. It can start within seconds, although sometimes it has a delay of thirty minutes or more.
W: Excuse me, Professor Watson, but how do you recognize it? I mean, there’s a difference between a few seconds and thirty minutes. So how do you … like, how do you know when a person’s in anaphylactic shock? .
M: Sometimes it’s hard to identify the real reason why someone is in trouble. Unfortunately, that’s what happened last year to a little girl who ate a peanut cookie at a birthday party. No one who was with her at the time knew she was allergic to peanuts, so they didn’t know why she suddenly went into respiratory distress. The reason, of course, was anaphylaxis. But by the time the medics got there, it was too late, and the girl died.
So, how do we identify anaphylactic shock? The first sign is the victim becomes very weak and feels sick. There may be an itchy rash near the site of the sting, if it’s a bee sting, or a tingling in the mouth, if it’s a food allergy. The tissues of the face and throat may swell up. The chest feels tight, and the person has trouble breathing this is when every minute, every second matters. The blood pressure drops dangerously low. Finally, the person may lose consciousness and stop breathing. When this happens, the person’s life is in danger. Anaphylactic shock, as you can see, can be life threatening in some cases.
What happens to the immune system? First, it has to be exposed previously to the offending substance the bee venom, the peanuts, or whatever. People don’t get anaphylaxis from their first bee sting. The immune cells that produce antibodies … they … uh … they have to be sensitized to the offending substance at least once before they overreact to it the second or third time. We don’t understand why some unlucky immune systems go crazy the next time they encounter the same substance. But some immune systems do sort of go crazy. The cells pour out far more antibody than they need. This sets off a whole series of reactions involving the release of histamine into the bloodstream. Histamine makes the blood vessels dilate and get “leaky,” and the liquid part of the blood leaks out into the tissues. This is what causes the skin rash, the potentially fatal swelling, the narrowing of the airways, and the drop in blood pressure. The worst part is all of this happens within minutes.
W: Because this can happen so fast I mean, going into shock how do we prevent I mean, is there a way we can stop somebody from dying of this?
M: With anaphylaxis, a few minutes can make the difference between life and death, so the keys to survival are being prepared and acting quickly. The most important tool to have is called an epi-pen basically an automatic syringe that lets you self-administer the drug epinephrine into your body, a drug that helps combat the effects of anaphylaxis.
Questions 12 through 17.
Listen to part of a talk in a United States history class.
In the early years of the twentieth century, 60 percent of the American population was rural, and half of the nation’s towns and cities had fewer than ten thousand people. Up until that time, life on the farm was lonely, and farm families felt that they weren’t keeping up with the urban population, which had electric lights, telephones, and access to the latest goods in department stores. Farm families were isolated, often with limited funds, and few could afford the time or the expense of shopping in the city. But all of this changed with the introduction of the mail-order catalog.
In 1872, a Chicago merchant named Montgomery Ward began sending copies of a catalog to thousands of farmers in the Midwest. The catalog was 280 pages long and offered farm families the opportunity to order any of the goods listed in it by mail. This is how Montgomery Ward and Company became the nation’s first mail-order company. Ward had discovered something entirely new and profitable, a new method of conducting business. After that, the terms “mail-order house” and “mail-order catalog” were added to our vocabulary.
The most successful mail-order house was Sears and Roebuck, which entered the mail-order business in 1895. Just as Montgomery Ward had done with his catalog, Richard Sears advertised his products in catalogs that were sent to farm families. The Sears catalog sold food, clothing, machinery, tools, stoves—anything and everything a farm family might need.
The mail-order business spread rapidly, largely because of improvements in postal services. The post office established Rural Free Delivery in 1902 and Parcel Post in 1913. These new services meant that catalogs and goods would be delivered directly to the farm, so farmers didn’t have to drive several miles into town to pick up packages. These new services greatly contributed to the success of mail-order houses.
Rural Free Delivery also had great benefit for farm families. Families that had previously been isolated could now receive newspapers, magazines, and mail-order catalogs in their mailboxes. This contact with the outside world broke their isolation and changed the outlook of rural America. Thanks to the mail-order houses of Montgomery Ward and Sears and Roebuck, no farm was too isolated to be aware of the latest clothing, furniture, farm equipment, music, and literature.
The wide distribution of the Sears catalog had another interesting effect. The Sears catalog had a lot to do with the similarity of goods available nationwide. Of course, this was also due to the mass–production of goods. Mass- production techniques made it possible to create reasonable copies of, for example, high-priced clothing. The two factors working together mass production and nationwide distribution tended to minimize regional differences in clothing styles. This is why there was a general lack of class and regional distinction in American clothing. People believed that if clothing of the same design and brand was widely worn by many people, then this was a sign of its value.
By 1910, both men and women could buy every article of clothing, ready-made, from mail-order catalogs like Sears. Sears didn’t pretend to be a leader in fashion, but it did try to provide what average Americans wanted. Women wanted to dress more fashionably and they welcomed new styles. For farm women, the pictures of the smiling women on the pages of the Sears catalog were as close as they came to outside contacts during the long winter months. And for immigrants who wanted to become Americans, the Sears catalog was a textbook. Here they learned how to dress, how to furnish their homes, and some catalogs even had recipes and menus for holiday dimiers how to cook American food.