Medicine: The Red Sweat

A strange malady in the sky

As a Hollywood horror flick, its title might be The Rash. Scenario: on Eastern Air Lines' regular flights between New York City and Florida, stewardesses and a few stewards begin to contract a strange, oozing rash on their faces, chests and hands. The fluid escaping from their inflamed pores looks like blood, though it is not, and so the rash is called "red sweat." Others are stricken by reddish blotches of pinprick-size dots. But either way, before a doctor can diagnose it, the mysterious rash disappears—until, perhaps, the next New York-Florida flight.

For Eastern's baffled management, the...

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