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Ever had problems with breathing, sharp chest pain and fever? These look like the symptoms of the common flu, but it actually may be something completely different, more serious and more hazardous to your health.

Pleurisy infection, or pleuritis, was once a common pulmonary infection often as a result of another infection, such as pneumonia or the flu. Today, due to antibiotics, the treatment is less complicated and more effective. However, the main problem lies in the symptoms of the infection which are similar to those of flu. In most cases, people only visit their pharmacist and not their doctor. Therefore, the real number of people with pleurisy is hard to estimate giving us an incomplete view on the rates of the infection today.

What pleurisy is can easily be explained but the cause can differ from case to case. Basically, the lungs are surrounded by a two-layered membrane, called pleura. The fluid between these layers eases the process of breathing in and breathing out. Pleurisy causes this fluid to become sticky, which further causes the friction between the layers. The lungs cannot expand and contract as easily as before, which directly results in the sharp pain, dry cough and fever. This can be a result of an injury, or in some cases connected with various forms of cancer. Since it resembles the flu, only few will seek medical attention. They will rely on drugs such as Ibuprofen to ease the pain. However, if the fever becomes high and the breathing problems become more frequent, a visit to a doctor is necessary.

What are the symptoms of flu and how can we distinguish it from pleurisy? Surely, a fever cannot be a sign of a possibly dangerous infection. Can the symptoms of flu be confused with pleurisy? Minor breathing problems, a fever and a cough are not the reason to panic, but if body temperature rises over 40 C /104 F and the cough becomes more stabbing, then it is time to consult a doctor, who can determine the cause of the pain.

The treatment of pleurisy includes the use of antibiotics and other drugs that can be bought in a pharmacy. But, the level of treatment will depend on the seriousness of the infection and its causes. Here is seen the importance of a doctor, since the pleurisy can complicate into a state where the liquid inside the lungs becomes infected. In that case, a surgical operation is required. The doctor is the only one who can properly prescribe the treatment and the drugs for it.

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