Peak flow meter is a small device which shows how well you are breathing. It is a simple, portable, inexpensive device that measures airflow. It helps to monitor what is going on in the body. You can use peak flow meter at home to measure lung function.
A peak flow meter helps in determining airway changes and managing asthma attack. There are two different types of peak flow meters known as low and standard range. Low range peak flow meter is designed for children and standard peak flow meter is designed for adults.
How to use a Peak Flow Meter?
Take a deep breathe and blow hard into the tube to find out how fast you can blow out. This gives a peak flow number. Repeat this three times and record the best of the three trials.
All three measurements should be same to show that a good effort was made each time. You have to find out your personal best peak flow number by recording the peak flow number daily for few weeks until asthma is under control. The highest number you get during that time is your personal best peak flow.
You can compare future peak flow measurements to your personal best peak flow to check whether asthma attack is under control or not.
Steps when Using a Peak Flow Meter:
- Check that the pointer is at zero or base level
- Stand up or sit in upright position
- Hold the peak flow meter level and keep your fingers away from the pointer
- Take as deep of breath as possible and close your lips firmly around the mouthpiece
- Blow out as hard and as fast as possible remembering that speed of your blow is being measured.
- Do not spit, cough or allow your tongue block the mouth piece
- Look at the pointer and check your reading
- Repeat the process for two more times and record the highest reading in your asthma diary
Who can use the Peak Flow Meter?
It can be used by adults and kids above six years of age. Kids below six years are not usually prescribed as they might be confused by the blowing out for a peak flow reading with the sucking in of their inhaler drugs.
If you are using peak flow meter, your readings will vary according to your age, height and female or male. Readings also vary from person to person, so it is difficult to say what a person’s best peak flow should be.
Readings of Peak Flow Meter:
Take help from doctor or nurse to understand what your peak flow readings mean. When your asthma is well controlled, the day-to-day readings or between morning and evening readings have a very slight difference.
If there is a lot of change from day-to-day or morning and evening readings, it is the main clue to the uncontrolled asthma. Find out your normal readings when your asthma is well controlled. When your peak flow reading falls, it may be the sign of asthma attack.
Advantages of Peak Flow Meter:
- It can warn possible asthma attack even before you notice symptoms
- If your peak flow meter shows that your breathing is getting worse, you should follow action plan by taking quick relief medicines or other medicine as directed.
- You can use the peak flow meter to see how your airways are responding to the medicines.
- You can know whether you need to change your treatment or not.