One way to empower children with asthma is to help them see how their lungs work on a daily basis. At-home test measurements, including peak flow and spirometry, help asthmatics track their lung health data while preventing potential flare-ups. Learn how to test peak flow in children with asthma so that you can help them gain control.
How to Measure Your Child’s Peak Flow
If you have ever seen an adult use a peak flow meter, keep in mind that a child’s measurement works much the same way. However, while adults exhale with a sustained breath, many doctors recommend that children keep their breath short and fast. This prevents extra dizziness and lightheadedness.
A peak flow meter is a small, handheld device featuring numbers, arrows, and a mouthpiece. To test your child’s peak flow, simply have them inhale deeply, close their lips over the mouthpiece, and exhale quickly and forcefully. The arrows on the peak flow meter indicate a number, which, in turn, indicates how quickly your child exhales their air.
Now, keep in mind that a peak flow meter does not necessarily express the state of your child’s health. Rather, it provides a gauge for your child’s normal expiratory rate. If your child’s peak flow number has been high for a number of weeks and then suddenly drops one day, that means something in their body changed.
A peak flow meter does not cure asthma. Instead, it acts as a tool for helping adults and children with asthma get to know their lungs. Typically speaking, at-home testing does little good if you do not record results alongside other data and then refer back to everything later.
Is Spirometry Better than Peak Flow Measurement?
While peak flow testing certainly has its place and can be extremely helpful, many doctors recommend the use of spirometry for children instead. Spirometry works much the same way in that you can compare daily results and look for unusual numbers. However, it measures something slightly different.
Instead of only measuring your child’s expiratory speed, spirometry measures your child’s lung capacity as well. Together, the results produce your child’s FEV1%. The FEV1% indicates your child’s “normal score,” as well as how their score averages against other children with asthma. This provides an excellent tool for monitoring overall lung health.
Benefits of Lung Testing for Children with Asthma
Whether you use peak flow, spirometry, or both, there is no questioning the benefits of at-home lung testing for children with asthma. The following are just a few advantages of monitoring your child’s lung health.
- To alert yourself and your child of incoming flare-ups
- To check the effectiveness of a new treatment plan
- To monitor lung health after high-stress situations (physical exertion, panic attack, exposure to allergens, etc.)
- To provide primary care physician with important data that can aid in possible treatment options
Make Lung Testing Child-Friendly
Just because lung tests can benefit your child doesn’t mean they can’t be fun as well. If asthma is new to your child, or they struggle with the constant tests and treatments, we have a solution. The Aluna spirometry device pairs with a smartphone app and provides games for your child to play during the lung test. Allow your child to unlock new levels and have fun while learning more about their lung health. Gaining control of asthma is important, and we want to help every child succeed in doing so.