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Considered one of the most common ways to test lung capacity and pulmonary function, spirometry measures the amount of air a patient can breathe in and out, as well as the speed and ease of a full exhale. Spirometry is a helpful tool in the diagnosis of health issues such as asthma and COPD and is a common solution for anyone experiencing wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.

Most routine spirometry testing is driven by protocols, not medical emergency or necessity. These routine tests have been largely suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize the risk of spreading infection, at the direction of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. However, these tests are still important during this medical crisis, as COVID-19 can be more dangerous for patients with pre-existing pulmonary conditions, and spirometry can provide valuable data about lung function and capacity. In medically essential cases, spirometry tests should be administered by a licensed occupational physician or pulmonologist.

For anyone concerned about spreading germs when using spirometry equipment, the risk of infection from testing is very low when administered appropriately. All equipment surfaces should be cleaned with antimicrobial disinfectant before and after each test. A new sterile mouthpiece should be used for each test, and an inline antimicrobial filter will prevent cross contamination from infecting the user.

Remember, anyone experiencing a cough, fever, and shortness of breath should alert a physician before arriving to a clinic or hospital for testing.

Check out Hopkins’ complete line of spirometry equipment and other diagnostic solutions.

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