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How flexible are your lungs

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This is a peak flow peter. It weighs 120 grams. There’s probably a box of these unopened in a cupboard in your local pharmacy.

But it can change your life.

A peak flow meter measures the speed which you can expel air out of your lungs . Basically, how elastic your lungs are compared to normal for your gender and age. There’s a bit of a technique to it, and you never rely on a single measurement but if a reading is 'way off' and you don’t have a current infection general advice is to measure it repeatedly over two weeks.

There are 400,000 known asthmatics in Ireland but our clinical assumption as doctors is that there are far more out there undiagnosed who spend their Winters on antibiotics and are tired all the time.

In work they are unproductive, exhausted and prone to being either absent or constantly coughing. Their lives, and perhaps yours, would change if they just pulled that box out of the cupboard and measured their peak flow.

There are two initial inhaler types.

The “Blue one” is salbutamol which acts pretty much immediately. The “Brown one” is a long acting preventative one which usually contains inhaled steroid.

If you need to use the immediate action one a lot you probably need the preventative one twice daily.

The difference being diagnosed and treated for asthma makes to your energy is literally life changing. In Full Health we have had x people with borderline and y with abnormal peak flows out of every hundred randomly tested.

We all know someone who has a chesty cough the whole Winter long so do them a favour and ask them to check their peak flow today.