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Ann,

The peak flow meter is a small hand-held device. So it is not large and bulky like the nebulizer, etc. It really is a handy tool to help you - especially in the beginning chart how you are feeling. (I even carry mine in my purse, so if I'm at work or out running errands I can quickly see where my numbers are). Also, the doctor will need that data to help you put together a "asthma action plan" - it outlines what you need to do if you numbers start to drop, and its based on your own personal "numbers"/lung capacity. Everyone is different. Basically what he/she will have you do is chart your peakflow 3-4 times a day for 2 weeks. They will then use the "highest" of those numbers as your personal best and then block out 3 zones to help you know what to do if your numbers begin to drop. Generally the zones are associated with colors to help you remember. Green = good, 80 to 100% of your personal best. Just do normal routine. Yellow=caution, 50 to 80 % of your personal best. Generally they will give you instructions to add certain medications at this point. (ie - proair or other rescue inhaler every 4 to 6 hours, add additional nebulizer treatments, etc.) Red = danger. Below 50% of personal best. Generally this is the signal to go to the ER or call 9-1-1 immediately.

Yes, it is a pain to have all these different "things" to keep track of, but once your asthma is under control, you won't use them as often. Also, its a way to help you manage your asthma and prevent trips to the emergency room. A lot of people don't realize it, but asthma is a serious condition and if not properly treated and controlled, can lead to permanent lung damage and even death. (Not that I'm trying to scare you). I don't know about you, but my insurance plan has a pretty high deductible if I end up going to the hospital, so I do whatever it takes to prevent meeting that deductible! :)

Hang in there. It does get better and if you find that this doctor is not willing to try other things or different medications, find another doctor. Dulera didn't work for me - I'm on Symbicort now and it is much more effective. I've been through 6 doctors in the past 5 years, and only now am finding one I feel has a good understanding of asthma and is willing to listen to me as the patient and try different things to help me feel better.





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