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Peak Flow Meters

Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airway becomes inflamed making it difficult to breathe. It can flare up in the springtime similarly to spring allergies. A few of the springtime triggers are pollen, air temperature changes, air pollution, and yard fertilizers. During this time of the year there are also indoor triggers that are commonly overlooked like dust and cleaning products. One way to help control asthma flare ups is by using a peak flow meter.

A peak flow meter is a small hand-held device that measures a person’s ability to push air from their lungs. It can measure the narrowing of your airways before you even have asthma symptoms. Monitoring yourself with a peak flow meter helps to provide a warning sign by showing your levels are not in your normal range and require attention.

How to use a peak flow meter:

1. Make sure the sliding marker or arrow on the Peak Flow Meter is at the bottom of the numbered scale.

2. Stand up straight if able.

3. Take as deep a breath as you can.

4. Put the meter into your mouth. Close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece, making sure your tongue does not block the hole in the mouthpiece.

5. Blow out as hard and as quickly as possible in one breath.

6. Note the number on the meter scale on a piece of paper.

7. Repeat the entire routine three times and record the highest of the three ratings.

8. Keep a chart of your peak flow rates. Discuss the readings with your healthcare provider.

Make sure you measure your peak flow rate close to the same time each day. Your healthcare provider may ask for it to be performed more than once a day. You will also need to know your personal best peak flow number to have a good idea of when you’re measuring too low. Your personal best number is found by measuring your peak flow at least two times a day over a 2 to 3 week period when your asthma is under good control. A peak flow measurement under 80 percent of your personal best peak flow calls for action, and you should follow your Asthma Action Plan as instructed.

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