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What's the treatment for pleurisy?

Treatment of pleurisy is directed at the underlying illness. Bacterial infections are treated with appropriate antibiotics. Tuberculosis requires special treatment. Viral infections normally run their course without medications. Pleural fluid may be removed by thoracentesis, and evaluated for signs of infection. The pain of pleurisy can often be controlled with

acetominophen or anti-inflammatory agents, such as ibuprofen

Over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help relieve some of the signs and symptoms of pleurisy like pain.Pain control is important. If the pain is not controlled, full deep breaths will not be possible. People with pleurisy may also receive relief from lying on the painful side. Sometimes, a painful cough will be controlled with codeine-based cough syrups. However, as the pain eases, a person with pleurisy should try to breathe deeply and cough to clear any congestion, otherwise pneumonia may occur. Rest is also important to aid in the recovery process.

An herbal remedy commonly recommended is pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa). Pleurisy root helps to ease pain, inflammation, and breathing difficulties brought on by pleurisy. This herb is often used in conjunction with mullein (Verbascum thapsus) or elecampane (Inula helenium). Traditional Chinese medicine uses the herb ephedra (Ephedra sinica), which acts to open air passages and alleviate respiratory difficulties in pleurisy patients. Dietary recommendations include eating fresh fruits and vegetables, adequate protein, and good quality fats (omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and are found in fish and flax oil). Taking certain nutritional supplements, especially large doeses of vitamin C, may also provide health benefits to people with pleurisy.


More information on pleurisy

What is pleurisy? - Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the lungs, with subsequent pain. Pleurisy is frequently associated with a pleural effusion.
What causes pleurisy? - There are many causes of pleurisy. Pleurisy may develop in the presence of lung inflammation, rheumatic diseases, chest trauma.
What're the symptoms of pleurisy? - The most common symptom of pleurisy is chest pain (pleuritic pain), which worsens with breathing in or coughing.
How is pleurisy diagnosed? - Pleurisy is diagnosed by history and physical exam. Pleurisy is often easy for doctors to diagnose because pleuritic pain is so distinctive.
What's the treatment for pleurisy? - Treatment of pleurisy is directed at the underlying illness. Bacterial infections are treated with appropriate antibiotics.
How to prevent pleurisy? - Pleurisy can be prevented, depending on its cause. In some cases, pleurisy can be prevented by preventing the medical condition that causes it.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005