Do not be too sure you can laugh at hay fever. One day you too could wake up with a stuffy nose, weepy eyes and a bad case of sneezing.

No matter how many years you have lived without a symptom, you can get the curse suddenly and at almost any time. And the outlook is bad if your parents had it or if you have some other form of allergy.

Of course you do not have to get it in August – that's just the most common time. Actually there are four types of hay fever, each with different season and with a different cause. The name itself incidentally is an inaccurate one: the affliction is not necessarily caused by hay and is rarely agreed by fever.

Spring Hay Fever

If you come down with your sniffles between April 1 and June 1, you are probably allergic to the pollen of trees – maple, elm, oak, poplar, ash and hickory.

Summer Hay Fever

The Summer fever is also misnamed rose fever. The season begins around May 15 and lasts until July 15. The villain in this case is not the rose, which blooms at the same time, but the pollen from grasses, especially timothy and blue grass.

Fall Hay Fever

The fall fever is by far the most common type of allergy in the United States. It is caused by pollen from ragweed, and the season lasts from August 15 to September 30.

Perennial Hay Fever

The poor fellow who has this really has something. He's allergic to mold spores (which are practically everywhere), animal furs, feathers or house dust. His problem can come at any time and may even last a year round.

All types of fever act similarly. You will not get hay fever the first day or first time you encounter the stuff. The process of getting sensitized may take months or even years. One unlucky day, when your antibodies to ragweed have develop satisfactorily, the blood vessels in your nose let loose fluid, your bronchial tubes constrict – you sneeze, you weep.

That day, you got your first allergic attack.

After this first go-round, you'll probably be a slave to the malady for the rest of your life. There's no short cut to relief, so you'll probably take your drippy nose to the doctor. Once he has determined which substance gives you the trouble, it's probably time for antihistamine drugs to be a new close friend.