What is pleurisy or pleuritis?

What is pleurisy or pleuritis

Pleuritis (Pleurisy) is an inflammation of the pleura  that surrounds the lungs. Fluid can also accumulate in the chest cavity due to the inflammation.

It is a serious condition that is usually caused by a virus infection such as flu, pneumonia or tuberculosis or by other conditions such as a pulmonary embolism, cancer or an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus.

In the past (before the arrival of antibiotics), pleurisy was common and it was a life-threatening condition, especially in children. These days, pleurisy is usually easy to treat.


- Free sudden pain on the left and / or right of the chest or back, especially when breathing deeply.
- Sometimes you are short of breath, especially with exercise.
- Sometimes fever


If you suspect that you have pleurisy, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
The doctor may prescribe pain killers and / or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve pain and inflammation.
Codeine and other narcotics are stronger painkillers, but suppress coughing. This is not desirable because deep breathing and coughing help prevent pneumonia. A pleurisy patient is therefore encouraged to breathe deeply and cough when breathing becomes less painful.Coughing is often less painful if the patient or someone else presses a pillow firmly against the painful part of the chest. Severe chest pain can be relieved by bandaging the chest with a wide non-adhesive elastic bandage.
In addition, treatment of the underlying condition is probably needed. For example, if pneumonia is the cause, you can get antibiotics.
If necessary, an abnormal accumulation of pleural fluid should be sucked away.

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