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Using a Peak Flow Meter
B Positive Content Team
A peak flow meter is a simple and inexpensive device that measures breathing pressure of your lungs. Monitoring your breathing with a peak flow meter can help you assess how open your airways are. That way, you'll be forewarned in case your asthma is worsening.

Regular monitoring of your asthma condition through use of a peak flow meter also tells you how well your treatment plan is working.

How to use the device:
  1. Move the marker to 0 or to the lowest point/position on the scale. Stand up straight. If you can't stand, be sure to sit up straight. Make sure you're in the same position each time you test. 
  2. Take in as deep a breath as you can. 
  3. Put the mouthpiece of the peak flow meter in your mouth between your teeth. Close your lips tightly around it. Be sure your tongue does not block the opening. Blow into the mouthpiece once, as hard and as fast as you can. 
  4. Now take the peak flow meter out of your mouth and check. It will have moved along the numbered scale. Note down this number. Move the marker back to 0 or to the lowest point/position on the scale. 
  5. Repeat the test two more times.
  6. Write the highest of the three numbers on your chart or in your diary. This is your peak flow meter number of the day. 
What the results mean
Your doctor can help you create or modify your Asthma Action Plan that tells you what to do if your asthma gets out of control. Action plans are often based on the asthma zone you're in at a given point in time, as indicated by your peak flow meter number. Your doctor will explain how your symptoms or peak flow numbers can help you know which asthma zone you are in.
Green zone: Under control - .When you're in your green zone, you feel good. Your asthma doesn't get in the way of work, activities, or sleep. You're doing a good job keeping your asthma under control.
Action: Keep following your daily treatment plan.
Yellow zone: Caution - When you're in your yellow zone, your airways are becoming swollen, inflamed, and narrow. You may have warning signs such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. Your asthma may prevent you from doing some normal activities. If you don't correct this right away, you may move into the red zone and have an asthma attack. 
Action: Take the medications suggested in your action plan. Get away from your triggers.
Red zone: medical alert - When you're in your red zone, you're having an asthma attack. You're most likely coughing, wheezing, and having a lot of trouble breathing. Stop and take action.
Action: Take your fast-acting inhaler and any other medications your action plan suggests. Then talk to your doctor right away or go to the hospital. Seek an ambulance if you are struggling to breathe, can't walk or talk because of shortness of breath, or your lips or fingernails are turning blue.

Important Note
: Ideally, if you are not staying within the green zone, discuss your daily treatment plan with your doctor.

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