Pleurisy is also known as pleuritis and is an inflammation of the pleura or the membranes that envelope the lungs and line the inside of the chest. This causes the pleural layers to rub against each other every time the lungs expand while breathing, thereby causing sharp pain that is known as pleuritic chest pain. Pleurisy can be acute or chronic in nature and may affect one side of the chest or both sides. It can affect individuals of all age groups including children and the elderly and may even occur in small epidemics.
Symptoms of Pleurisy:
Pleurisy is characterized a sharp and stabbing pain in any part of the chest wall or over the diaphragm. The pain is aggravated by deep breathing or coughing and is accompanied by chills, congestion of the pleura and fever. Pleurisy tends to damage the tissues and chokes circulation within them. This causes immense difficulty in breathing and is accompanied by pain and swelling in the chest. During the later stages, a liquid effusion escapes from the pleura that fills the cavities in the chest and causes a great deal of oppression. Once the fluid is drained, the pressure is lowered and pain is reduced. Dry pleurisy is a condition in which there is little or no effusion and can be constrained. The effusion can become gangrenous or may mix with blood resulting in a lot of suffering.
Treatment for Pleurisy:
Diet: All cold, spicy, fried, fermented and preserved foods should be avoided by those affected by pleurisy. Bitter gourds, okra, eggplant, potatoes, cauliflowers and fenugreek are beneficial during this condition.
Water: If you are looking to get rid of pleurisy, you must abstain from taking all types of liquid as well as solid foods. Nothing should be taken except for hot or cold water at least 3-4 times a day. The intake of water should gradually be increased to 5-6 glasses per day. This can be followed by a hot water enema once a day.
Hot chest pack: This should be applied 2-3 times a day and must be allowed to remain for at least an hour each time. If the patient has high fever then the hot packs should be replaced by cold ones. This helps alleviate pain and congestion. Alternatively, you can also apply heat on the chest to relieve pain associated with pleurisy. The patient should practice deep breathing exercises while heat is being applied.