The Peak Flow Meter

What is a peak flow meter?

  • It is a small device used for a simple breathing test.
  • It can be used easily at home to monitor asthma.


Who should use a peak flow meter?

  • Not everyone with asthma needs a peak flow meter.
  • It is most helpful for those with severe asthma and those who have trouble knowing when their asthma is getting worse.
  • The test must be done correctly each time to give useful results.


What do the results mean?

  • Each person has their own personal best peak flow result. It is the highest number you can blow when feeling well. Your personal best will likely change over time.
  • Results are compared to your personal best to monitor for asthma changes.
  • When asthma problems are beginning, the number you are able to blow will be lower than normal.
  • Peak flow readings can be used as a part of your asthma action plan.
  • Guidelines can be given by your doctor or asthma educator for when to use the peak flow meter and how to use the readings.


How do I find my personal best peak flow number?

  • Take readings morning and night for 2 weeks when you are feeling well.
  • Your personal best will be the highest number you can usually blow during that 2 weeks.
  • Recheck your personal best number a couple of times a year or if you change your peak flow meter.

What do I need to know about getting a peak flow meter?

  • Most pharmacies can supply a peak flow meter.
  • Cost of Peak Flow Meters range in price starting around from $30.00.
  • Most models come with either a low range scale or a regular range scale. The low range is best for children under age 8 years (or 130 cm/52 inches).
  • Some insurance plans and social assistance plans will cover peak flow meters as medical devices. A doctor's request will likely be needed for coverage.


If you would like to know more about peak flow meters speak to your asthma educator.