ACUTE PLEURISY (Inflammation of the Pleura)
Categories: Respiratory Diseases
The pleura covers the wall
of the chest cavity and infolds or surrounds the lungs. Pleurisy means the
inflammation of this pleura or covering.
Causes. Exposure to cold, etc. Onset may be gradual or sudden, with
chills fever and sharp stitches in the side near the arm pit or breast.
The patient lies on the affected side during the attack, the pain is made
worse by breathing, coughing o
motion. The cough is dry and painful, with
difficult breathing. The temperature 102 to 103. Sometimes there is fluid
accumulated in the cavity. In about seven to ten days the fever and other
symptoms disappear. The fluid is absorbed quickly if it is scanty, often
very slowly if abundant. This fluid is contained in the cavity of the
pleura. The pleura covers the lungs. Its outer layer is attached to the
ribs and costal cartilages in front and ribs behind, goes around the foot
of the lungs underneath, then turns around under the side of the lungs and
comes in front, making a sac. The two layers in health touch each other,
but are separated when there is fluid in the cavity. The inner layer
covers the lungs and drops into the grooves of the lungs. You can thus
readily understand how easy it is for the pleura to be attacked. Also when
the lung is inflamed we have what we call pleura-pneumonia. Pleurisy is a
very painful disease. It hurts to move, breathe, or cough. The patient
holds his chest when he coughs. The fluid that forms is poured out from
the inflamed membrane, sometimes it is so great in quantity it must be
drawn off,--tapped; we then call this hydrothorax,--water in the chest.
Diet and Nursing--The patient should be kept quiet and in the easiest
Milk diet is the best to use. There should not be much liquid diet, except
milk. The milk may be diluted with lime water if necessary. Malted milk,
Mellin's food, imperial granum, can be used when the milk cannot be taken.