Q: My son’s allergist prescribed a peak flow meter to use at home. What is it for and how do we use it?
A: Peak flow meters are devices used to measure how well air is moving through the lungs. Be sure to read the instructions that come with the meter. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you and your son how to use the meter. Other tips:
- Always stand up. Remove any food or gum from the mouth.
- Make sure the marker on the meter is at the bottom of the scale.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply. Hold that breath.
- Place mouthpiece on the tongue and close lips around it to form a tight seal. (Do not put tongue in the hole.)
- Blow out as hard and fast as possible.
- Write down the number that you see next to the marker. (If your son coughs or makes a mistake, have him do it over again.)
- Repeat two more times.
- Record the highest of these three numbers in a notebook, calendar or asthma diary.
- Compare the highest number with the peak flow numbers on your son’s written asthma-action plan. Check to see which zone the number falls under and follow the plan’s instructions for that zone.
Source: National Asthma Education and Prevention Program