Peak Flow Meter

Peak Flow Meters Can Help You:

  • Detect early stages of increased airway inflammation
  • Learn to recognize early signs that indicate asthma problems
  • Identify allergens, irritants, and activities that make your asthma worse
  • Measure your response to medications
  • Decide how well your treatment plan is working
  • Decide when to call your healthcare provider or seek emergency care
  • Make decisions about school attendance or physical activity
  • Improve communication among you, your family, and your medical care team

Proper Use of Peak Flow Meters:

When you use a peak flow meter, the force of your breathe moves the indicator along a numbered scale. The number opposite the indicator i your peak expiratory rate - PEFR - how fast you can push your breathe out, in liters per second. Use the peak flow meter each morning and evening, especially when you are monitoring an asthma flare or learni g to understnd your symptoms. A midday reading can aslo be helpful. To get an accurate readin, use the peak flow meter before taking your bronchodilator medication (a medicine, such as albuterol, that opens and relaxes your airways).

Follow these steps carefully:

  • Move the sliding indicator to the bottom of the numbered scale
  • Stand Up
  • Take a deep breath, filling your lungs completely
  • Place the mouth piece level in your mouth and close your lips around it; Do not put your tongue inside the hole, put your fingers on the scale, or cover the back air holes
  • Blow out as hard and as fast as you can in a single blow

If you cough or make a mistake, skip that reading and try again. Repeat the steps above two more times, then enter the highest of your three readings into a daily symptom diary, notebook, or graph.

Peak Flow Zones

You and your physician can use this information as a starting point for determining your personal zones according to your true needs.

GREEN (80 to 100 percent of target PEFR) signals all clear: No asthma symptoms are present, and the routine treatment plan for maintaining control can be followed. If you take medications every day and have consistent readings in the green zone, you may want to ask your physician about reducing medications.

YELLOW (50 to 80 percent of target PEFR) signals caution: An episode of asthma may be present that requires a temporary increase (step-up) in medication. Yellow may mean that your overall asthma condition is not under sufficient control, and your physician may increase your daily medications.

RED (below 50 percent of target PEFR) signals a medical alert: A fast-acting bronchodilator should be used immediately and the physician should be notified if PEFR measures do not immediately return to and remain in the yellow or green zone.