So you woke up in the middle of the night due to sneezy, stuffy, head, and a downright miserable feeling in your nose. Your breathing feels tight, chest aching, itchy eyes, and you feel congested. Perhaps you have a headache that won't go away. You may feel like you have a cold, but chances are you're suffering from Hay Fever.
You were hot and put the fan in the window, with it blowing right on you. So your first inclination was to blame the fan for your misery. Yet it wasn't the fan per se: it was what the fan was blowing your way -- ragweed pollen. It's also referred to as ambrosia, and you can see some picures here.
The sumer of 2012 was an excessively dry summer, and this is prime weather for weeds to grow. Plus shorter days and cooler nights "stimulate pollination in the ragweed plant," according to a report by Dayton Daily News.
These weeds hit their prime in August, with August 15 being the peek of ragweed pollen season. The pollen start to fall from the weeds and the wind blows them where they are used for pollenation.
With all this pollen in the air, much of it blows into your open window. The fan helps it reach your airway, and you inhale it without thinking. Your immune system recognizes it as an enemy, and generates an all out attack. Your blood vessels dilate and your airway tissues become inflammed. If you have asthma this means increased inflammation, and possibly worse asthma.
Either way, you feel miserable. To get relief you'll have to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom or kitchen where you keep your benadryl. Yet this makes you tired, so you might be better off with Claratin or Zyrtec. In some cases, your allergies may be so bad you might want to try both. You'll also want to make sure you take your Singulair if you have it.
It'll take 30- mintues to an hour for this medicine to start taking effect, if it takes effect at all. So it's 2 a.m. and you have to sit on the couch watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond until you finally feel enough relief to go back to bed.
One study (as you can read here) shows that of people sensitive or allergic to pollen, 75 percent are allergic to ragweed pollen. One expert notes that more people are allergic to ragween than any other pollen.
The pollen count generally starts to settle down around labor day, with September and October bringing relief to allergy sufferers.