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?
1. Before beginning the treatment, wash
your hands with soap and warm water,
or use anti-bacterial hand gel, to
reduce the risk of infection.
2. Check the marker on the peak flow
meter. Be sure it is at the bottom at
3. Hold the meter straight out. Make sure
your fingers do not cover the scale or
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Read the marker on the scale and write
7. Repeat all of these steps two more
8. 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
ξ During a cold
ξ If you have asthma symptoms
ξ Exposure to a trigger (like tobacco
smoke or animals)
ξ When your asthma medicines are
ξ Before using your quick relief
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
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have
any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not
medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health
needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If
you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©2/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All
rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5020