Pleurisy is irritation of the pleura, the sac that covers the lungs. This causes a stabbing or sticking pain in the chest, which is felt more with deep breathing and coughing. This can be caused by anything that reaches the covering of the lungs that should not be there, such as bacteria or viruses.
Antibiotics will help a bacterial infection, but will not help a viral infection. On its own the body will treat a viral infection. During this time it is important to treat the pain so that you are able to breath as normal as possible so that other problems do not start. Two things that may help with the pain are an anti-inflammatory pill, like ibuprofen and heat, especially moist heat, like a bath or shower.
Here is some info about Pleurisy that I copied from the medline site:
Inflammation of the pleural lining with subsequent pain.
Causes and risks
Pleurisy may develop in the presence of bacterial lung infections, upper respiratory infections, tuberculosis, rheumatoid diseases, and lung neoplasms. The main symptom is pain over the chest wall at the site of the inflammation. The pain is increased by deep breathing, coughing, and chest movement. The normally smooth pleural surfaces, now roughened by inflammation, rub together with each breath and may produce a rough grating sound called a "friction rub" which can be heard with the stethoscope or an ear held against the chest.
Fluid can accumulate at the site of pleural inflammation. A localized collection of fluid separates the lung pleura from the chest wall pleura causing the chest pain to disappear even though the illness may be worsening. Large accumulations of fluid compromise breathing and may cause coughing, shortness of breath with rapid breathing (tachypnea), and cyanosis, and retractions.
Early treatment of bacterial respiratory infections can prevent pleuritis changes. No treatments are available for viral respiratory infections with the exception of amantadine for influenza.
recent or present respiratory illness with its symptoms
localized chest pain on the chest wall
pain with each breath
worsened by coughing
worsened by deep breathing
Signs and tests
Physical examination may show abnormal lung sounds:
a friction rub -- a rough scratchy sound that accompanies inspiration and expiration
rales (may be present if there is an accompanying pneumonia)
rhonchi (may be present with accompanying pneumonia or bronchitic process)
decreased breath sounds (may be present if there is a collection of fluid around the lung
CBC (may help differentiate bacterial versus viral infection)
X-ray of the chest
ultrasound of the chest
thoracentesis (a collection of fluid from the pleural cavity)
Treatment is determined by the precipitating illness. Bacterial infections are treated with appropriate antibiotics. Tuberculosis requires special treatment. Viral infections normally run their course without medications. Pleural fluid is often removed by thoracentesis, and evaluated for signs of infection.
Recovery depends on the nature of the illness. Recovery from infections of all types is generally good with treatment. Recovery from pleurisy cause by malignant disease is depends on the type and extent of the illness.
complications associated with the precipitating illness
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