A peak flow meter helps you check how well your asthma is controlled. Peak flow meters are most helpful if you have moderate to severe persistent asthma.
Peak flow meter - how to
Many children under age 5 cannot use a peak flow meter very well. But some are able to. Start using peak flow meters before age 5 to get your child used to them.
To find your personal best peak flow number, take your peak flow each day for 2 to 3 weeks. Your asthma should be under control during this time. To finding your personal best, take your peak flow as close to the following times of day as you can:
These times for taking your peak flow are only for finding your personal best.
Write down the number you get for each peak flow reading. The highest peak flow number you had during the 2 to 3 weeks is your personal best.
Ask your doctor to help you fill out an asthma action plan. This plan should tell you when to call the doctor for help and when to use medicines if your peak flow drops to a certain level.
Your personal best can change over time. Ask your doctor when you should check for a new personal best.
Once you know your personal best, take your peak flow:
Check to see which zone your peak flow number is in. Do what your doctor told you to do when you are in that zone. This information should be in your action plan. If you use more than one peak flow meter (such as one at home and another one at school or work), be sure that all of them are the same brand.
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Rockville, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2007. NIH publications 08-4051.
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. How to use a peak flow meter. How to use a metered-dose inhaler. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/asthma/asthma_tipsheets.pdf. Accessed May 8, 2014.
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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