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Pleurisy

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Pleurisy is when the lining of your lungs (pleura) becomes irritated or swollen. The pleura are 2 thin layers of tissue that surround your lungs and line the inside of your chest cavity. There is a small amount of fluid between the pleura that helps the layers move easily when you breathe. When the pleura is irritated or swollen, the layers rub together as you breathe.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Cough medicine: This medicine helps decrease your urge to cough. A cough suppressant may help if a dry cough is causing you pain.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.

  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Self-care:

  • Support your painful side: Hold a pillow or folded blanket tightly over your chest when you cough or take a deep breath.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have lung irritation, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. You will improve your health and the health of those around you if you quit. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.

  • Use a humidifier: Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help decrease your cough. Wash the humidifier each day with soap and warm water to keep it free of germs.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods: This may help you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • Your pain gets worse, even after treatment.

  • You begin to cough up yellow, green, gray, or bloody mucus.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have shortness of breath.

  • Your lips or fingernails turn dusky or blue.

  • You have sudden, intense chest pain that feels different from your symptoms.

  • You are confused or feel like you are going to faint.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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