Asthma UK community forum

Advice on being more prepared, peak flow? pulse oximeter?

Do you think it would be worth buying a Pulse Oximeter to use at home?

Also I have only just heard of peak flow, at what age/stage should this be started?

My 3 (3/3/5) boys tend to only suffer with asthma when they have a virus, but do also have the cough occasionally in-between, and can develop a cough and wheeze from being upset/distressed. One is on brown inhaler and all on the blue. Asthma is new to me and they have all developed it over the past year. I just feel so clueless in determining the difference between being able to treat at home or needing medical assistance, especially in the middle of the night when you just want to let them sleep. Often I will think they need seeing and my husband will say I am panicking and they are fine.

2 Replies

Someone medical will be better placed to answer the question of when to start with peak flows, but I can answer with regard to an oximeter - don't bother.

Oxygen saturation levels only drop far too late in the attack for them to be a useful indicator of anything being wrong. By the time they drop outside of the ""normal"" range, it will be very apparent that an asthma attack is in progress - if they drop at all!


Hi I would say use your instinct,my husband says I over react and my son isn't that bad but he usually sleeps through most of the attacks so I wake him earlier now so he can see whats happening. In January we had a huge argument as I thought my son needed help, hubby did not. i just called an ambulance, lucky I did our son had double pneumonia and we very nearly lost him.He's been on loads of steroids this year but no more big attacks. I've often thought about getting an oximeter but I think by the time you react it could be too late, I watch how his lungs respond as my son doesn't wheeze and thats the biggest clue that all is not well.

My son started using a peak flow at 5. I used to be able to tell when he started coughing at night or when exercising he needed more treatment and was usually right, the same still applies.

Good luck, we always have huge rows when my sons ill because we often get sent home from a + e as they say nothings wrong because there is no wheeze, so hubby says whats the point, hes safer here!!

take care



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