Pleurisy is inflammation of the sheet-like layers covering the lungs (pleura) which in the majority of cases is caused by a viral infection such as flu or a bacterial infection like pneumonia.  Other causes might include a rib injury, pulmonary embolism, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, HIV or Aids, lung cancer, mesothelioma and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Common symptoms include sharp chest pain when breathing deeply, sometimes pain in the shoulder, a dry cough and/or a shortness of breath. The pain might increase when coughing, sneezing or through general activity and can sometimes be relieved by taking shallow breaths.

A GP can diagnose pleurisy following examination and an understanding of your symptoms. Further investigations to help a diagnosis might include a blood test, chest x-ray, ultrasound scan, CT Scan and/or a biopsy.

Treatment will depend upon the actual cause and in viral infections should resolve itself without treatment.  Pleurisy caused by bacterial infection is usually treated by antibiotics.

In some instances an excess of fluid will develop between the pleural layers which can impact upon breathing and it might then be necessary to drain the fluid away. Excessive fluid and pleural effusions can be an indicator of cancer such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with pleurisy or believe you have been exposed to harmful substances in your workplace call us today on FREEPHONE 0808 164 7740 or speak to us via our LIVE CHAT.

If you prefer, you can forward a copy of any correspondence to us, (including medical report, letter, scan or x-ray report etc) in a plain envelope addressed to ‘Freepost SCOTTISH ASBESTOS HELPLINE’ – please remember no stamp is required.  Alternatively you might wish to email us at

Your solicitors can deal with your enquiry even if you were employed or exposed to asbestos in England, Ireland or Wales

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