Your peak flow meter is your best tool in predicting when your child might have an attack. Another way to watch for an attacks is to learn to recognize the early warning signs. These include:
- Your child is complaining of a headache
- Your child’s eyes are watering, or his head is stuffy
- Your child tells you her heart is beating really fast
- You notice your child coughing or sneezing
- Your child complains of an itchy or scratchy throat
- Your child is short of breath and tells you his chest feels tight
- Your child seems tired, angry, sad, or depressed
Each child is different, and yours is unique as well. If you notice other early warning signs that seem to always or often happen before your child has an asthma attack, note them and watch for them. When these signs show up, it is time to act and prevent that attack before it happens. Have your child use her peak flow meter, and be ready with rescue medicines.
Another way to predict your child’s attacks is to write down when they happen, and the situation your child was in when he had the attack. Similar situations, locations, or events may trigger your child’s asthma, and by recording her attacks, you can know which places and situations to keep your child away from.Tags: Asthma, Signs, meter, Peak flow meter, way
ometimes your child may think she is doing well when an attack could be just around the corner. “Well, how can I know?” you ask yourself. There is now a device that allows you and your child to know how well he is breathing. A peak flow meter looks like an oversized inhaler, but your child breathes into it, not from it.
When your child blows hard into the meter as fast as she can, it measures how quickly she can breathe out. Your child should use the peakflow meter twice daily, once during the day and once at night. The highest score should be recorded daily on a chart that goes with the peakflow meter. Share this information with your child’s doctor and use it as a tool to prevent asthma attacks before they happen.
How To Use Your Peak Flow Meter:
- Make sure your child is standing.
- Make sure the arrow indicator is set to zero.
- Have your child take a very deep breath, then, holding the meter tightly between his lips, have him blow out hard and fast.
- Write down the number where the arrow indicator stopped.
- Have your child blow into the meter two more times.
- Record on your peak flow meter chart the highest number, which is your child’s “peak flow.”
The Peak Flow Meter Chart
The peak flow meter chart will help you prevent your child’s attacks and help you to find out what causes asthma attacks in your child. It is also a helpful summary of your child’s condition during your doctor’s visit.
To set up your chart, have your child use the peak flow meter twice a day for two weeks, and record the best score for each use. Take the highest score during the entire two weeks, and use this number to represent your child’s peak flow. It will be this number that you will compare all of his future scores to and be able to identify the zone your child is in each day.
Peak flow scores will fall into one of three zones: green (safe), yellow (warning) or red (danger).
- This zone represents 80% or more of your child’s best peak flow. If your child’s score falls into this zone, it usually means that her medication is working well. To find out what your child’s 80% score is, multiply the peak flow score by 0.8.
- This zone represents 50% to 80% of your child’s best peak flow. This is a warning zone, and if your child’s score falls into this zone, his asthma is not being controlled with the medication he is taking and he may need to take additional medications, or use a bronchodilator. Have your child use the peakflow meter again in 20 minutes, and if the score does not fall into the green zone, an asthma attack could happen soon. You may need to prepare to handle the attack as advised by your doctor, or even contact your doctor if it appears the attack may be severe. To find out what your child’s 50% score is, multiply the peak flow score by 0.5.
- This zone represents less than 50% of your child’s best peak flow. This zone means danger, and your child will probably have an asthma attack. Use the medicines your doctor prescribed to stop an attack, and if your child gets no relief, contact your doctor as soon as possible.