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Discharge Instructions: Using a Peak Flow Meter

I need to measure my peak flow ___ time(s) a day at the same time(s) _________ each day.

A peak flow meter measures how fast you can push air out of your lungs. This tells you how open your airways are and how well you are controlling your asthma. Measure your peak flow as often as your healthcare provider tells you to.


General Guidelines

Use your peak flow meter every morning when you wake up, before you take your medication. Also use it when you are having asthma symptoms, having an attack, or after taking medication for the attack. Bring your peak flow meter and your log of daily peak flow numbers to your doctor visits. Ask your doctor or nurse to check how you use your peak flow meter to be sure you are doing it right. Follow these steps to take your peak flow reading:


Step 1

  • Move the marker to 0, or to the lowest number on the scale.

  • Stand up. If you can't stand, sit up straight in a chair. Be sure you're in the same erect position each time you do this test.

Step 2

  • Take a deep breath. Fill your lungs all the way.

  • While holding your breath, put the mouthpiece of the meter between your teeth. Close your lips tightly around it, making a tight seal around the mouthpiece. Be sure your tongue does not block the hole.

  • Blow into the mouthpiece once, as hard and fast as you can. Your peak flow meter will measure how fast you can blow air out.

  • Take the meter out of your mouth.

  • Check where the marker has moved to on the numbered scale. Write this number down.

Step 3

  • Move the marker back to 0. Repeat the above steps 2 more times.

  • Record the highest of the three numbers in a daily log. This is your peak flow number.



Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to Seek Medical Attention:

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Shortness of breath that is not relieved by your quick-relief medication

  • Trouble walking and talking because of shortness of breath

  • Blue lips or fingernails

  • Severe wheezing

  • A peak flow reading less than 50 percent of your personal best





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