Health Encyclopedia

How to Measure Your Peak Expiratory Flow

How to Measure Your Peak Expiratory Flow

Set the meter to its lowest number: Step 1

A child setting a peak flow meter to its lowest number
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Put the pointer on the gauge of the peak flow meter to 0 or the lowest number on the meter. In the photo, this is about 50.

Attach the mouthpiece: Step 2

A child attaching a mouthpiece to the peak flow meter
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Attach the mouthpiece to the peak flow meter. Some meters don't have a separate mouthpiece.

Take a deep breath: Step 3

A child taking a deep breath to get ready to use the peak flow meter
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While standing, take a deep breath.

Put the mouthpiece in your mouth: Step 4

A child putting the peak flow meter mouthpiece in her mouth
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Put the peak flow meter mouthpiece in your mouth, and close your lips tightly around the outside of the mouthpiece. Don't put your tongue inside the mouthpiece.

Breath out hard: Step 5

A child breathing out hard into the peak flow meter
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Breathe out as hard and as fast as you can for 1 or 2 seconds. A hard and fast breath usually produces a "huff" sound.

Check your number: Step 6

A peak expiratory flow result of about 180
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Check the number on the gauge, and write it down. This is your peak expiratory flow (PEF). In the photo, the PEF is about 180.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last Revised March 14, 2013

Last Revised: March 14, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology

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