What is a peak flow meter?
Peak flow meter is device wish is used to measure peak of wind speed or peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR).When you exhale the air from your lungs the meter will give a score which can help you and your doctor determine how to adjust medication and how well your asthma symptoms. It also can help to monitoring your asthma symptoms.
Here’s how regular use of a peak flow meter can help:
- Find out if you have asthma
- Find out if your medication is working properly.
- Find out if your feels better after an asthma attack.
How to Use a Peak Flow Meter?
The peak flow meter measures the rate at which you can exhale air from your lungs (your “Peak Expiratory Flow” or “PEF”). The device will gives a score which can help you and your doctor determine whether your asthma symptoms decrease or worsen.
The peak flow meter lets you see how your lungs are over time. The amount of air you can exhale varies depending on the health of your lungs. If your airways are contracted due to an asthma attack, you will not be able to exhale as much air as usual. This will reduce your expiratory flow rate. This expiratory flow rate indicates the condition of your lungs at a specific time.
To use a peak flow meter, follow the instructions on the packaging. The general procedure is as follows:
- Make sure a sliding marker is at the bottom of scale(lowest number or zero).
- Stand or sit up straight with your chin slightly lifted and look straight ahead.
- Blow out until your lungs feel completely empty as much as possible.
- Breathe in deeply to completely on your lung with air.
- Put the mouthpiece between your teeth and close your lips tightly (Do not put your tongue on the mouthpiece)
- Blow out as hard and fast as you can to the mouthpiece then the sliding marker will move up the scale.
- Look at the number on the meter to see where the marker stopped.
- Repeat all these step and measure your peak flow 3 times.
The highest number record that you read and please be sure to reset the number as zero each time that you blow into the device. Keep a record of your peak flow number around the same time each day for 2 weeks until you are feeling well.
The highest number is calling “Your personal best peak flow”. Your asthma action plan will use your peak flow number and give your instruction how to treat your asthma based on your symptoms and peak flow. Whenever you measure your peak flow, do it three times. The best reading will be your actual score – one you should take note of and show to your doctor.
The efficiency of the peak flow meter depends on the device of you. The peak flow meter will effectiveness if you have reached of following the instructions and making constant efforts, even when you get sick. You should also understand that peak flow values play an important role in controlling asthma, especially if you don’t always perceive the asthma symptoms.
What are Peak Flow Meter records Means?
Ask your doctor what are the normal peak flow values of you. This value is estimated from the average reading scale of device.
Here are the three color codes on a peak flow meter:
- Green means “Go”. Congratulations! Your asthma is well controlled. Follow the regular asthma management plan.
- Yellow means “Caution”. Your asthma may be getting worse. Your child needs additional control and / or relief medications.
- Red means “Stop”. You need to see a doctor right away. Go to your nearest emergency department and give your relief medication every 10 minutes.
In your Asthma Action Plan, your doctor will give you specific instructions of each peak flow reading.
When to use a peak flow meter?
Your doctor will tell you when the peak flow meter should be used. Here are some situations in which to use it:
- Before and after the administration of a relief medication.
- When an asthma attack occurs 1 or 2 times a day, or every day to find out if your relief medication is working properly.
Where it is necessary to use a peak flow meter?
Different brands of peak flow meters are available; they differ slightly from one another. Read and follow the instructions of your peak flow meter.
How to clean you Peak Flow Meter?
If your peak flow meter has a separate mouthpiece:
Clean it once a week. You should wash your device in warm, soapy water. Rinse it gently with clear water, and then let it dry in the open air. If you have a virus (cold, flu, etc.), wash your meter after each use. Make sure it is completely dry before using it.
You should always use the same device because different devices may give different readings, which could blur your results.