DESCRIPTIONPleurisy is inflammation and irritation of the pleura, a thin two-layered membrane that encloses the lung and lines the inside of the chest. The pleura, blood vessels, sensory nerves, and the diaphragm are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSudden chest pain that worsens with breathing and coughing. The pain varies from vague discomfort that occurs only with deep breathing or coughing to intense, stabbing pain. The pain is usually over the area of the pleura, but it may also occur in the lower chest or abdomen.
Discomfort on moving the affected side.
Rapid, shallow breathing.
If fluid develops at the site of inflammation between the two membrane layers, the liquid is called pleural effusion. When this happens, the pleurisy pain usually subsides, but breathlessness worsens.
CAUSESLung or chest infections, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis.
Collapse of part of the lung.
Blood clot in the lung.
Injury to the chest or rib fracture.
Cancer in other parts of the body.
Collagen vascular disease, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Congestive heart failure.
Obesity; smoking; use of immunosuppressive drugs.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEObtain medical treatment for the child's underlying disorder.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory blood studies to detect infection or autoimmune disease.
X-rays of the chest.
Lung compression and impaired breathing from leakage of pleural effusion.
Scarring and adhesions at the site of inflammation, restricting lung expansion.
Successful treatment of your child's pleurisy depends on successful treatment of the disorder causing it. Often, symptoms without complications clear completely and spontaneously in 2 weeks.
For your child's chest pain, wrap the entire chest loosely with 2 or 3 non-adhesive, 6-inch-wide elastic bandages.
For your child's coughing, use a cool-mist humidifier to help loosen bronchial secretions so they can be coughed up easily.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe antibiotics or pain relievers after diagnosis of the child's underlying disorder. You may give your child simple pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or aspirin, to relieve pain if no complicating disorders exist.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child should reduce activity until the pain and fever disappear. Then the child can resume normal activities gradually.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of pleurisy.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Temperature spikes (rises suddenly) to over 101F (38.3C).
-- Increased pain.
-- Increased breathlessness.
-- Cough that is dry and non-productive.
-- Blue or dark fingernails, toenails, or lips.
-- Blood in the sputum.