Pleurisy is a condition that occurs when the membranes surrounding the lungs within the chest become inflamed. Patients may first develop pleurisy after a viral or bacterial infection, or after surgery or trauma. Other factors can also trigger the condition. Symptoms include a cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain, and can range from mild to severe. These symptoms are caused when fluid or other foreign particles enter the membranes, aggravating them and leading to inflammation. A doctor will let you know if your symptoms are caused by pleurisy, and can help you to determine the best course of action for treatment.
Depending on the cause of pleurisy, some treatments may target the underlying reason for the condition rather than pleurisy itself. This includes when the infection causes pleurisy. Sometimes, the fluid itself is infected. If this is the case, antibiotics may be used to treat the condition. A physician may prescribe a short course of antibiotics, or a much longer course for more serious infections. Antibiotics can have serious side effects and can reduce your body’s ability to defend itself against future infections if overused, so your doctor will typically prescribe the lowest effective dosage.