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Health Information For Parents
Spirometry is a quick, painless test using a tool called a spirometer to measure how much air a person’s lungs can hold. It also tests the speed of inhalations (breathing in) and exhalations (breathing out).
This test is given to children older than 5 years.
The spirometer has two pieces:
Spirometry tells health care professionals how well the lungs are working. It’s used to help diagnose and monitor diseases that affect the lungs and make breathing difficult, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis.
It also can be used to:
You can help prepare your child for spirometry by explaining the importance of following the instructions of the person giving the test.
Before the test, your child should avoid cold medicines, caffeine, carbonated beverages, and exposure to tobacco smoke. Your child also shouldn’t eat a big meal before the test.
The doctor might have your child stop taking any regular medicines for a bit before the test. Your child may be asked to practice for the test, such as by pretending to blow out birthday candles or blowing air at a pinwheel.
On the day of the test, make sure that your child doesn’t wear tight clothing that could interfere with being able to breathe in and out deeply.
Depending on the doctor’s recommendations, your child might wear soft nose clips to prevent air from escaping. Your child also may be asked to stand during the test. If seated, your child should not lean forward because this can affect breathing.
Your child will take a very deep breath, place the device in the mouth with the lips sealed securely around the mouthpiece, and then exhale as fast and hard as possible for as long as possible. The test may be repeated several times to confirm the results.
Spirometry is often done before and after a patient is given an inhaled medicine called a bronchodilator, which opens up the airways. This can help determine whether a lung problem can be treated with certain medicines.
Spirometry usually takes 5–30 minutes, depending on the number of times the test is done.
The results are recorded while the test is being done, and some machines are programmed to review results and suggest interpretations. However, your doctor also will review the results and tell you what they mean.
Spirometry is considered a safe procedure with little risk. Because the test requires kids to breathe quickly and deeply, some may have temporary shortness of breath or lightheadedness. This test shouldn’t be done on kids who have chest pain, a recent history of eye or abdominal surgery, or serious heart disease.
If you have questions or concerns about spirometry, speak with your doctor or the person giving the test.
Watch this movie about the respiratory system, the system that enables you to breathe.
A spirometry test is as easy as blowing out birthday candles. Watch how the test is done in this video for kids.
This video shows what it’s like to get a spirometry test.
Cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that particularly affects the lungs and digestive system, makes kids who have itÂ more vulnerable to repeated lung infections.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that causes the body to produce mucus that’s extremely thick and sticky. It mainly affects the lungs and the pancreas, causing serious breathing and digestive problems.
Asthma keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness. Learn how to help your child manage the condition, stay healthy, and stay in school.
Kids with cystic fibrosis (CF) often get lung and airway infections. A sputum CF respiratory screen or culture helps doctors detect, identify, and treat infection-causing bacteria or fungi.
Each day you breathe about 20,000 times. Find out more about the lungs and breathing process.
By the time we’re 70 years old, we will have taken at least 600 million breaths. All of this breathing couldn’t happen without the respiratory system.
Asthma makes it hard to breathe. Find out more in this article for kids.
Asthma is a lung condition that makes it hard to breathe. Learn all about asthma here.
How well do your lungs function? In other words, how well are you breathing?
The term “lung function” refers to how well a person is breathing.
A spirometer is an instrument that measures how well your lungs are working.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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