Peak Flow Meter: Family Teaching Tips for An Asthmatic Child-By Edter
Prevention is the most crucial part of treating bronchial asthma especially to children. Parents should teach their kids on how to prevent the common factors, which can trigger their current health condition. Furthermore, determining the signs and symptoms (early manifestations) of asthma can help children to get rid of complications. These preventive measures include the use of peak flow meter. It is a device that can provide an objective (observable) way of assessing the extent of obstruction in a person’s airway. Children who age four or five must know how to use the peak flow meter device. This way, they can manage their condition independently and responsibly. So, what is this device and how is it used?
How to Use a Peak Flow Meter Device?
A child may not be aware of the earliest signs and symptoms of bronchial asthma. When they reach a point of feeling chest tightness, this could only mean that the child’s condition is advancing to the attack periods. As a result, their peak expiratory (exhalation) rate is severely low and this is a characteristic of an impending asthma attack. In order for children to understand and measure their lung capacity, they should learn how to use and interpret the peak flow meter device. To do this, they must:
- Remove anything from their mouth (food or gums).
- Ensure that the meter pointer of the device is placed at zero level.
- Teach them to stand up while holding the device horizontally. Their fingers must be placed away from the marker and vent holes.
- With an open mouth, they need to place the mouthpiece of the device inside their oral cavity and breathe slowly with as much air as they can tolerate.
- Ensure that the mouthpiece is placed on the child’s tongue and seal the device with their upper and lower lips.
- They must blow out the air as fast and hard as they could manage. It must be done on a sharp blasting and short yet gradual blow. The device measures the child’s fastest blow of air and not the longest time a child can exhale.
- The first six steps must be repeated for three episodes. Let them wait for at least ten seconds in between puffs. Always check the device meter point before proceeding to the next puff.
- Record each reading in a diary or patient’s progress notes.
Afterwards, the child should interpret the result of the test. The importance of getting accurate result will reflect on the child’s ability to respond on their condition appropriately.
How to Interpret the Peak Flow Meter Result?
Below is the illustration of the results with its corresponding management responses.
Color: Green Rate: 80 – 100%
Response: The child should continue the usual treatment regimen (bronchodilators or corticosteroids).
Color: Yellow Rate: 50 – 80%
Response: The child must use the emergency drug for impending asthma attack along with the usual treatment regimen.
Color: Red Rate: Below 50%
Response: Visit the nearest hospital or call for emergency. This is a morbid sign of an impending asthma attack.
Always remember that the type of response allocated for each description should meet the basic needs of the asthmatic child. It is expected that treatment regimen may be adjusted by a doctor to develop a more therapeutic management plan for the child’s current condition – By Edterchelle Soriano.
In our next article we shall discuss about – “Bronchial Asthma and Infections”