Medicine: The Hives of Effort

Despite popular overworking of the gag, "I'm allergic to work." authentic cases of this condition are medical rarities. Now two physicians report (in the Annals of Internal Medicine) a well-attested case that showed up—not surprisingly—in the Army.

The Midwestern victim was only 13 when he broke out with hives while playing basketball. The boy had to give up sports because every time he played he got hives, with swelling around the eyes, in his throat, and sometimes in his hands and feet. Studied at a big university medical center, he was diagnosed as having an "exercise-type urticaria."

At 22, a husky six-footer, he...