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Peak flow is how much air you breathe out when you try your hardest. You measure peak flow with a peak flow meter, an inexpensive device that you can use at home, if your doctor has recommended this device as part of your Asthma Action Plan.
It's good to know how well your lungs are working. One way to do this is by checking your peak flow with a peak flow meter. Your peak flow can tell you if your asthma is staying the same, getting better, or getting worse.
Checking your peak flow helps you control your asthma. Then asthma won't control you.
Before you start, remove any gum or food you may have in your mouth.
Be sure the gauge of the peak flow meter is set to 0 or the lowest number on the meter.
Some meters don't have a separate mouthpiece.
Keep your tongue away from the mouthpiece.
A hard and fast breath usually makes a "huff" sound.
This is your peak flow.
Write down the highest of the three numbers in your asthma diary.
If you cough or make a mistake during the testing, redo the test. If your best effort results in a number you didn't expect, follow the instructions included with your device, redo the test, and make sure you are following the proper technique.
Your action plan is based on zones of asthma severity. Your peak flow can help you find out what zone you are in. You do this by comparing your current peak flow to your personal best peak flow.
Your personal best is your highest peak flow recorded over a 2- to 3-week period when your asthma is under control.
Each meter is a little different. If you change meters, you will need to find your asthma zones using the new meter.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Adaptation Date: 3/22/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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