Your Peak Flow Meter
What is a peak flow meter?
A peak flow meter measures how fast you can move air out of your lungs in one breath. It is best to check your peak flows around the same time each day.
How do you use a peak flow meter?
- Check the marker on the peak flow meter. Be sure it is at the bottom at zero.
- Hold the meter straight out. Make sure your fingers do not cover the scale or the end.
- Stand up. Take a deep breath in. Place the mouthpiece of the meter in your mouth. Close your mouth tightly around it. Do not place your tongue in the hole of the mouth piece.
- Blow out as hard and as fast as you can (like you are blowing out a candle). This will cause the marker to move up the scale.
- Read the marker on the scale and write it down.
- Repeat all of these steps two more times.
- After the third time, take the highest number of the three tries and write it down. This is your peak flow reading.
When should I use my peak flow meter?
- During a cold
- If you have asthma symptoms
- Exposure to a trigger (like tobacco smoke or animals)
- When your asthma medicines are changed
- Before using your quick relief medicine
How do I clean my peak flow meter?
Wipe the mouthpiece off with warm soapy water, rinse and let it air-dry.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6747.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/21/2012
Copyright © 04/12/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5020
Print Health Fact For You