How To Determine Your Child’s "Personal Best" Peak Flow
Using a metered dose inhaler is a good way to take asthma medicines. There are less side effects from the medicine because the medicine goes right to the lungs and not to other parts of the body.
It takes only 5 to 10 minutes for the medicine to have an effect compared to liquid asthma medicines, which can take 1 to 3 hours. Inhalers can be used by all asthma patients age 5 and older. The inhaler must be cleaned often to prevent buildup that will clog it and reduce how well it works.
A spacer or holding chamber (see below) attached to the inhaler can help make taking the medicine easier for even younger children. These devices are helpful to people having trouble using an inhaler.
Using the Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)
Note: Dry powder capsules (Advair and Serevent diskus) are used differently. To use a dry powder inhaler, close your mouth tightly around the mouthpiece and inhale very fast.
A. Open mouth technique with inhaler 1 to 2 inches away
B. Using spacer
C. Placing directly in the mouth
Checking How Much Medicine Is Left in the Canister
How To Use a Spacer
What Is A Peak Flow Meter?
A peak flow meter is a device that measures how well air moves out of your lungs. During an asthma episode, the airways of the lungs usually begin to narrow slowly. The peak flow meter may tell you if there is narrowing in the airways hours - sometimes even days - before you have any asthma symptoms.
By taking your medicine(s) early (before symptoms), you may be able to stop the episode quickly and avoid a severe asthma episode. Peak flow meters are used to check your asthma the way that blood pressure cuffs are used to check high blood pressure. The peak flow meter also can be used to help you and your doctor:
A peak flow meter is most helpful for patients who must take asthma medicine daily. Patients age 5 and older are usually able to use a peak flow meter.
How To Use Your Peak Flow Meter
Do the following five steps with your peak flow meter:
Write down the number you get. If you cough or make a mistake, don’t write down the number. Do it over again. Repeat steps 1 through 5 two more times and write down the best of the three blows in your asthma diary.
Find Your Personal Best Peak Flow Number
Your personal best peak flow number is the highest peak flow number you can achieve over a 2- to 3-week period when your asthma is under good control. Good control is when you feel good and do not have any asthma symptoms.
Each patient’s asthma is different, and your best peak flow may be higher or lower than the peak flow of someone of your same height, weight, and sex. This means that it is important for you to find your own personal best peak flow number. Your treatment plan needs to be based on your own personal best peak flow number.
To find out your personal best peak flow number, take peak flow readings:
The Peak Flow Zone System
Once you know your personal best peak flow number, your doctor will give you the numbers that tell you what to do. The peak flow numbers are put into zones that are set up like a traffic light. This will help you know what to do when your peak flow number changes. For example: