Self-Test for Breath Alcohol
How It Is Done
Manual (glass tube/balloon) test
To obtain a breath alcohol reading:
- Blow into the balloon that comes with the kit until the balloon is almost full. Use one long breath, not several small breaths.
- Attach the balloon mouthpiece to one end of the glass tube filled with bands of yellow crystals.
- Let the air flow slowly out of the balloon and through the tube for exactly 1 minute.
- Count the number of bands of colored crystals in the tube that turn from yellow to green.
If your test has only the glass tube, blow through the tube for the amount of time in the instructions. Use one long breath, not several small breaths. Then look at the colored crystals to get the reading.
The amount of alcohol in your breath is based on the number of bands that change color and on the intensity of the color change.
Electronic breath alcohol meter
Follow the specific instructions that come with the device. With most meters, you:
- Turn on the meter and let it warm up for several minutes.
- Take a deep breath.
- Place your lips tightly around the mouthpiece. Blow steadily and continuously into the machine for the correct amount of time (usually 4 to 6 seconds). Use one long breath, not several small breaths.
The results appear as a digital readout in a display window. It may show a red or green "traffic light" or an estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). After you obtain the first reading, press the reset button and do a second test.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 8, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology