A peak flow meter is a simple, handheld
device used to measure how well the lungs perform while breathing. It’s helpful
in tracking asthma and how well treatments build up lung strength.
patients who use a peak flow meter on a regular basis can tailor their
medication to prevent an asthma attack or prevent symptoms from worsening.
While a peak
flow meter is appropriate for all ages, devices designed for different ages
have different scales. Some digital models automatically track readings, while
simpler, inexpensive models give readings that can be recorded in a peak flow
For the most
accurate readings, make sure you are using your peak flow meter correctly.
Going through the steps with your doctor can ensure accuracy to get the most
out of your meter. Your doctor will also tell you when to record your peak flow
rate, which is normally in the morning before taking your asthma medication.
Peak Flow Meter | Step-By-Step
- Connect the mouthpiece to the peak flow meter
and move the marker to the bottom of the numbered scale.
- While standing up, take a deep breath until your
lungs are full.
- With your lips tightly around the mouthpiece of the
peak flow meter, exhale once as fast and strongly as you can.
- Note where the marker stops.
- Give two more breaths into the peak flow meter
and record the highest reading. That is your “peak flow rate.”
A peak flow
meter is used in conjunction with colored “zones” to determine the state of
your asthma. Green means your condition is stable and you display few asthma
symptoms. Yellow, which is 50 to 80 of your personal best peak flow rate, means
you have some signs of distress such as coughing or wheezing. The red zone is
dangerous and constitutes an emergency where medication is needed