Pleurisy is swelling (inflammation) of the thin layers of
tissue (pleura) covering the lungs and the chest wall. In young, healthy
people a viral infection of the lower respiratory system or pneumonia may
cause the inflammation and pleurisy.
Other causes of pleurisy
include air leaking into the pleural cavity from a hole in a
lung (pneumothorax), injury to the chest (such as a broken rib),
tuberculosis or other infections, or a tumor in the pleura. Pleurisy caused by
a virus usually lasts a few days to 2 weeks.
Common symptoms of
Over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen
(such as Tylenol) and ibuprofen (such as Motrin and Advil), may help relieve
the pain caused by pleurisy and may reduce fever. Treatment of pleurisy depends
upon the cause.
July 15, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
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