Measuring Asthma

What is a peak flow meter?

Daily exposure to asthma triggers can cause airway inflammation in kids with asthma even when they're not having any specific breathing problems. Airway inflammation develops over time, and puts kids at a risk for unexpected flare-ups. They might feel okay, even as their airways are swell, become narrow, and eventually get blocked.

It's not usually possible to detect an inflamed or obstructed airway just by listening to your child's breathing or feeling it. In this case a doctor might recommend using an inexpensive, portable device called a peak flow meter to measure the lung function. This data can help you manage your child's asthma and avoid major flare-ups. A peak flow meter measures the flow of air as it's expelled from the lungs. In this process your child blows into the peak flow meter (as if blowing up a balloon). A marker then slides up a scale on the meter as your child blows out to indicate how much air they exhaled. The peak flow is the number where the marker stops on the scale.

What can Peak Flow Meter show us?

It can show us the severity of your child's asthma by giving us some accurate data. It also shows us how well the child is responding to asthma medicines during a flare-up. It measures the exhaled air and the data acquired can tell us whether the asthma is getting worse or recovering. If the peak flow is lower than usual, you know that your child's airways are inflamed and obstructed, making it difficult to blow air into the meter. This means that lung function isn't at its best and a flare-up might be on the way. This advance warning gives you a chance to take preventive measures, such as giving medicine.

How to use a peak flow meter?

Using a peak flow meter is not that difficult. Following are the steps on how to use a peak flow meter.

  • Set it to zero.
  • Have your child stand up and take a deep breath.
  • Have your child blow as quickly and strongly into the device as possible.
  • Record the number that the meter reads (this is known as a reading).
  • Repeat three times and note the highest recorded number (not the average).

Check out some of the Peak flow meter products we offer in this category.

Invacare PreciseRx Pediatric Flowmeter CareFusion AirLife AsthmaCheck Peak Flow Meter
Invacare PreciseRx Pediatric Flowmeter CareFusion AirLife AsthmaCheck Peak Flow Meter

 

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