When to Use a Peak Flow Meter

Peak flow meters are just one of a set of tools that will help you to better understand your own body and how it reacts to triggers in your daily life. The usual method is to use the peak flow meter over a period of time. This provides you with information on the pattern of your reactions and even valuable clues to identify triggers in your environment. With this information you can then take proactive steps to manage your condition more effectively.

It is always critical to work with your physician to determine the best use of your peak flow meter.

General recommendations are as follows:

  1. Take readings twice a day, at the same time, to establish a baseline. You should do this over a 2 week to 3 week period, when your asthma is controlled. Your doctor may have you take readings both before and after you have taken your inhaled medication (bronchodilator).
  2. Take a reading when you notice a change in your symptoms. This can be very valuable later when you are discussing a problem with your doctor.
  3. Take a reading when you have been exposed to known "triggers" of your asthma. This gives you a way to understand the severity of individual triggers.
  4. Monitor your peak flow when you change your medication schedule. This is very valuable feedback regarding the efficiency of any new medication schedule.
  5. Monitor your peak flow when you develop any symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Given that an upper respiratory infection can also trigger asthma, it's critical data.
  6. Monitor your peak flows when you are traveling or vacationing. Changes in your environment can affect your asthma. Your data could help you take the right precautions depending on your destination.
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