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September is a critical month for people with asthma. During the month, asthma attacks, hospital stays, and deaths tend to be the highest. This is called Asthma Peak Month, or the September Asthma Epidemic.

Several factors that impact people with asthma all come together during September. By the time the third week of the month arrives, the number of asthma attacks is at its worst. This is known as Asthma Peak Week.

Here are the factors that lead to a spike in asthma attacks in September and what you need to know about them.

A New School Year

Children may be affected the most by Asthma Peak Month. When kids start a new school year, they are exposed to a lot of asthma triggers. They are exposed to respiratory illnesses, allergens, and poor indoor air quality in school buildings.

Children start school as respiratory illnesses start to spread. The asthma peak usually affects them first. They then bring illnesses home to their families and older adults, who may experience the asthma peak a bit later.

Indoor air quality is a serious concern in schools as well. Many school buildings are older and in poor condition. They need repair but may not have access to funds to improve their buildings. This has a major impact on children with asthma who are exposed each school day to irritants and allergens, such as mold, pests, pollen, and pet dander.

Respiratory Illnesses

Respiratory illnesses – such as the flu, COVID-19, RSV, and colds – can trigger asthma symptoms. They tend to spread more during cooler weather as we move from summer into fall.

Weed Pollen

In the U.S., weed pollen season starts in the late summer and goes through the fall. Ragweed pollen causes most of the allergy symptoms during this time. It peaks in mid-September – which happens to be around the same time as Asthma Peak Week.

If you have allergic asthma and are allergic to ragweed, ragweed pollen can cause asthma symptoms.


Mostly thanks to falling leaves that collect on the ground, mold counts tend to go up in the fall. For the West Coast states, September marks the return of the rainy season. In some parts of the South, humidity can still be high in the fall too, creating an ideal environment for mold to thrive and cause allergic asthma symptoms.

Resource: Mold Allergy

Extreme Weather and Wildfires

September can bring extreme weather as we move from summer to fall. Weather can be an asthma trigger.

Summer heat and humidity – common asthma triggers – are still around in many parts of the United States in September. Humid air can feel heavy and harder to breathe. It can also increase mold, dust mites, and ground-level ozone – common asthma triggers.

Wildfire season in the West can start in the summer and go through October. But wildfires can happen anywhere, anytime in the U.S. during dry, hot, and windy conditions. Lightning and windstorms (like hurricanes) can spark wildfires.

Wildfire smoke can travel hundreds, even thousands of miles. The smoke and pollution in the air from the fires can impact air quality. Poor air quality can worsen asthma symptoms.

September is also the peak month of hurricane season. Hurricanes can include many factors that can expose people to asthma triggers, such as:

  • Mold from flooding and water damage
  • High humidity
  • Rain and thunderstorms
  • Sudden weather changes
  • Stress
  • Irritants during clean-up

How to Manage Your Asthma During Asthma Peak Month

When you have asthma and are exposed to several of these triggers, conditions, and events all at once, they can have a huge impact. This is why it’s so important to follow your Asthma Action Plan and keep your asthma under control.

If your asthma is not under control or you have concerns about Asthma Peak Month, talk with your doctor. Know what to do if you have emergency asthma symptoms. And review the resources in this blog post to help you manage your asthma depending on the triggers and conditions that affect you.

Have you ever been affected by Asthma Peak Month? How do you prevent asthma symptoms during September? Tell us more in the comments below.

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