A peak flow meter is a plastic tube that, when blown into, measures the air pressure moving out of a person’s lungs. But rather than rely on peak flow readings to gauge an asthmatic’s lung strength at any given time, experts recommend that patients first determine their “personal best,” and then measure against that when they suspect their breathing is labored. Click here for a peak expiratory flow rate chart.
The American Lung Association offers guidance in using a peak flow meter, determining your personal best, and then using their “traffic light” system to determine when you are fine, need medicine, or should seek medical assistance. Click here to learn more.
Before using a peak flow or personal best measurement system, though, patients should establish an asthma action plan with their physician, which helps patients know how to proceed when faced with an asthma emergency. Download an asthma action plan from the ALA to take to and discuss with your doctor here.