How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pleurisy?


Pleura is a moist, thin membrane that covers the chest and lungs cavity and pleurisy can be defined as an inflammatory feeling of these membranes during breathing. Various factors cause this respiratory condition and recovery vary depending upon the following condition.



What is Pleurisy?

The inflamed pleura rubs against each other during breathing, sneezing or coughing it causes the roughened surface to rub against each other which is filled with a thin fluid, causing pain. In some cases, pleural effusion can also take place, which is seeping of excessive fluid into pleural space. This leads to extra pressure on the lungs and their expanding ability causing shortness of breath. Infection of the unnecessary fluid in the pleura also causes in some patients.


How long does it take to recover from Pleurisy?

Depending upon the cause, the recovery time changes. Pleurodynia Pleurisy usually comes and goes over a few days, but in some cases, it may last for several weeks. Bacterial Pneumonia patients experience pleurisy that typically recovers with antibiotic treatment. However in the event of lung cancer or connective tissue disease, pain in the chest may persist for a longer period than other causes.


What causes Pleurisy?

Healthy, young people with lung infection due to virus or bacteria may become a victim of pleurisy. It may even spread and infect other people. Pleurisy may also be due to Pneumothorax, a condition of leaking into the pleural cavity from punctured lungs. It may attribute to the tumour in pleural lung infection, tuberculosis or broken rib due to an injury to the chest.

Other factors of pleurisy include sickle cell crisis, pancreatitis, lupus or pulmonary embolism. It may also be developed as a post-operation complication from heart surgery.


Symptoms of Pleurisy?

The symptoms of pleurisy are chest pain that may be often felt when one takes a deep breath or coughs. It may be also experienced as pain when there is a chest movement. In some cases, people are reported to have experienced shoulder pain.

Besides these other symptoms are:-

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Bluish discoloration of skin
  • Coughing


How is Pleurisy treated?

The treatment of pleurisy is caused dependent. For example, if a pulmonary embolism is present, one may get medicine to dissolve the clot or to prevent the future blood clot. If a bacterial infection, one will need an antibiotic. The treatment can be summarized as follows:-


Treat the pain

Ant-inflammatory nonsteroidal drugs like ibuprofen or pain killers as NSAIDS may ease the chest pain and subsequently treat them. If there are ineffective or unsuitable to ease the pain, doctors may prescribe other painkillers, such as paracetamol or codeine, which may assist in shortening recovery time from pleurisy.

One may also reduce the pain by lying down on the side of the chest that hurts.


Treat the cause.

Understand the reasons of the pleurisy is crucial to its treatment and patient’s recovery. If the virus is the cause of pleurisy than it does not need any medication as the infection gets caused by itself within a few days. If it’s a bacterial infection, then it needs antibiotics in the form of injections or pills, depending on the severity of the disease.

Patients may be hospitalized if symptoms are severe, or one is in ill health as and when recommended by the doctor and provide medical care till the patient‘s health condition stabilizes.


Treat pleural effusion

If even after medical treatment pleural effusion is not cleared, or the symptoms are worsening, a chest tube is necessary to be inserted to drain the fluid from the affected lung. This may be done under general anesthesia or local anesthesia, which will make the patient fall asleep.

When the treatment is expected to take a longer time, as a lot of fluid needs to be drained out, the patient may be advised to stay in the hospital care till full recovery, which may last few days.