SYMPTOMSThe pleural membranes become swollen and inflamed, and at first rub together with each breath, causing severe pain and sound that can be heard by a physician using his stethoscope. The pain becomes suddenly more severe if the person attempts to take a quick deep breath, to cough, or sneeze.
Fluid may form in the space between the lung and the chest wall. When that happens, the rubbing sound disappears, as well as most, or all, of the pain. There may only be a little fluid or it may fill half the chest cavity, compressing the lung.
Pleurisy can also appear on the surface of the diaphragm. In this case, the pain is in the abdomen, at the pit of the stomach, or can even be referred pain to the shoulder.
In children, pleurisy pain and the pain of pneumonia are frequently located in the abdomen, and cause others to think there is acute indigestion or appendicitis.
CAUSESThe lungs are enclosed within a sack-like covering. Since the lungs are constantly in motion, they must be able to slip against this covering without harming themselves or the pleura. Pleurisy occurs when this sack becomes inflamed. The cause is generally the tubercle bacillus (the cause of tuberculosis), pneumococcus, or streptococcus; the two later germs are present in pneumonia.
Some pleurisy is always present in lobar pneumonia (see pneumonia); and, in adults, pleurisy is frequently a complication of tuberculosis (which see).
But the underlying cause is not taking care of oneself: not eating right, not getting enough sleep, or not avoiding stress and overwork.
Put him to bed and keep him warm. Give a high enema, and apply fomentations to the chest and upper back. Continue this for 1-2 hours; let the patient rest, and then repeat. Keep doing this until the pain has ceased. Maintain hot fomentations; they will disperse the water in the lungs and keep the pain from returning.
The fomentations should be large, thick, and hot, and changed frequently. Do about 5 changes, and do not follow with any cold treatment; this is important. Use a hot water bottle on the chest following the fomentations. It may be kept there nearly all the time. If his chest is allowed to become chilled, the pleurisy will be come worse!
Give hot herb teas of pleurisy root, yarrow, valerian, and buckthorn bark. Add skullcap if the pain is severe.
An excellent herb tea is a tbsp. each of pleurisy root and yarrow, and a pinch of cayenne. Put it in water brought to a boil. Let it steep, and then drink a large swallow of the warm tea every hour.
Only give fruits, oatmeal water, vegetables, and grains. Allow no meat, milk, alcohol, or junk food.
Do not jar the patient. Move him carefully, gently. Jars and quick motions make the pleurisy worse and greatly increase the pain.
He, of course, needs fluids, but do not give him too much during the crisis.
Also see "Pleurisy2."
ENCOURAGEMENTGod has built a hedge around about His subjects, to protect them. It is the Ten Commandments. By faith in Christ, we are empowered to obey the Father's law. Doing so preserves us from transgression. In requiring obedience to the laws of His kingdom, God gives His people health and happiness.
(1) ACUTE FORM
GENERALImprove general resistance by cold applications, 2-3 times daily; Hot Leg Bath, if extremities are cold; water drinking; aseptic diet.
PAINVery hot Fomentation for 10 minutes over affected side. Revulsive Compress; limit movement of lung by tight bandage to the chest. Repeat every 2 hours. During interval, apply either Cold compress or Heating Compress as best suits the case.
AFTER CONVALESCENCEAlternate Chest Douche or Alternate Compress, if necessary to absorb exudation. Apply, 3 times a day, a continuous Heating Compress with plastic covering during the interval between.
EXUDATIONAlternate Compress or Alternate spray Douche 3 times a day; graduated general tonic applications; Prolonged Neutral Bath, half an hour to an hour daily.
(2) CHRONIC FORM
GENERAL TREATMENTNeutral Bath at night, 3 times a week, of 20-30 minutes duration. Graduated cold applications daily. Fomentation to chest, 3 times a day, or Revulsive spray Douche; well-protected Heating Compress during the interval between.
TUBERCULAR PLEURISYShort Revulsive Compress for 5 minutes for relief of pain, 3-4 times a day or as often as necessary; flannel Heating Compress during the intervals between; graduated Tonic Frictions.
Also see "Pleurisy1."
ENCOURAGEMENTChrist, the Majesty of heaven, became poor, that we, though His poverty, might become rich. What kind of riches? The riches of clean living and eternity with Christ to look forward to.