Pleurisy is a dangerous lung condition in which the double membrane, or pleura, that surrounds the lungs becomes inflamed. Pleurisy causes sharp pains in the chest every time you inhale or exhale because the pleura become swollen and the two membranes on each lung rub together, causing severe pain.
Apply heat to your chest for 30 minutes twice a day. The heat will help open the lungs and relieve the pain and congestion associated with the condition. Moist heat also works well Take a hot shower for approximately 20 minutes or allow the water to run in the shower while you are in the bathroom. The moisture will relieve the tightness in the chest cavity. If you begin running a fever, you should change the heat packs to cool packs.
Take ibuprofen or naproxen at the onset of pleurisy symptoms. Take one to two tablets every four to six hours to help relieve swelling and pain. Other pain relievers may be used on the advice of your physician but anti-inflammatory medications are usually the most recommended.
Drink plenty of water and eat very little when you begin experiencing symptoms of pleurisy. Keep your stomach empty so that it does not add to the congestion in the upper respiratory area. Drinking plenty of water will help keep the lungs clear and mucus thin. Fast only on water for a couple of days. This should only be done under the care of your physician.
Run a humidifier in your home when you have been diagnosed with pleurisy. You should especially run it at night when you are lying down. Moisture in the air can help thin out the mucus and make it easier to pass from the lungs. Clean the humidifier daily to keep it free from bacteria and fungus, which could cause further inflammation.
Take an immersion bath that reaches a temperature of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The key to taking an immersion bath is to drink cold water and get the body cold with cold compresses placed on the head, neck and shoulders. The body is then submerged in hot water. This will help alleviate inflammation and tightness in the chest.