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Low peak flow

cris0105 profile image

Hi all

Asthma has been in a fairly good place recently, but have over the last couple of days I’ve started with a tickley thread which has gone into a bit of a cold and my chest is a bit congested. I feel fine overall but have a bit of a cough and a bit phlegmy etc.

I’m not breathless in anyway, and no tight chest or any real of my normal asthma symptoms, but my peak flow has dropped to around 480/400 (usual is 550).

Obviously this is because of the congestion in my chest. Without all the other usual symptoms I get when struggling, is this anything to worry about or will it just go back up when my illness clears away?


10 Replies
EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador


Happy to hear that you’re feeling quite controlled at the moment - sorry to hear about the cold!

Personally I think it’s something you need to keep an eye on... if you start to feel like it’s affecting you asthma, let your GP know, and deal with it accordingly via your plan!

Alternatively, ask for a phone consultation for advice/speak to asthma UK/GP/asthma nurse (as everyone has different thresholds as to what they’ll put up with!).

I know that my PF can drop to 400/630 when I’m ill and be fine, but I also know I can not feel asthma-ry but be very symptomatic! If you can trust yourself to feel your symptoms, then don’t worry to much, if you can’t it’s better to be overly cautious then end up needing hospital!

I hope this very circular message makes sense 😅


It might be because of your cold. I would batten down the hatches and increase my asthma medication anyway in the aims of keeping it at bay and making it a bit easier to breathe

I would also be looking out for it dropping any further when I get chest infections it tends to drop a bit and then level off and then bam... I start losing 50 l/min every hour or so


I am newly diagnosed (summer this year) with asthma and six and a half weeks ago I caught a cold and just ignored it because I didn't know any better! I ended up at A&E with an attack and am now on my third lot of oral steroids and second lot of antibiotics!

If I get a cold again I will increase my preventer inhaler to stave off the worsening asthma symptoms.

I remembered (too late of course) that this was what I had to do for my asthmatic sons when they were young, I just didn't think of it for myself and nobody told me (actually I wasn't told anything much - it has been a steep learning curve!).

My peak flow is currently like yours with my best being 500 so nothing to 'worry about' and yet my chest is tighter now and I am more breathless than I was when it was lower a couple of weeks ago. The nurse told me that you can have good peak flow but be poorly with your asthma anyway - so it is obviously just one thing to look out for.

I would go with increasing the preventer but letting your GP/asthma nurse know so they can be kept in the loop :)

Hope you feel better very soon x

The whole point for me of monitoring is to be forewarned - your PF has dropped, up your meds and do what ever else helps and keep an eye. A cold is never just a cold if you have asthma. You have the data, now use it to support yourself - best wishes for a speedy recovery 🙏

The comments in this thread have made me realize that my PF is very low (310/340) and at its best (370/390) is much lower than others have mentioned. Does age have anything to do with it? I’m 61 and recently diagnosed with brochiectasis which is being controlled with preventer inhalers and Carbocisteine.

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to Active60

Everyone’s best PF is different as there are a lot of factors that effect it, including age and gender! Don’t worry about yours compared to others, just compare it to your best! I have severe asthma and have abnormally high with a best of 630, the national average for my age/height/gender is about 440 I think. Hope that helps x

Active60 profile image
Active60 in reply to EmmaF91


Yes, I think the PFs are graded certainly according to age. Not sure about gender, but possibly. I'm 66 years old and was told that the average PF for my age is 386. (I don't reach this often..mine is around 350/360). Your readings sound a little low (at worst) and pretty good at best. I think the lower readings might be a trigger for you to up your reliever meds, but don't take my advice I'm not a professional. Best to see your doctor.

Thank you.

mas7656 profile image
mas7656 in reply to Active60

Im 62 and my pf at best is 340. At the moment Im 280/300

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