The aftermath of a lung infection such as pneumonia is pleurisy, an
inflammation of the pleura, the two-ply membrane that encloses each lung
and lines the chest cavity. Pleurisy can also be a complication of
tuberculosis or a chest injury.
The layers of the pleura join
at edges so that the pleura resemble a balloon, completely empty of air
and wrapped tightly around each of the lungs. Normally, only a thin
lubricating layer of fluid lies between the inner and outer pleural
linings, and the lungs move freely within the pleura during
If the pleura becomes inflamed by infection, the
movement of the lung may be restricted, and breathing, especially deep
breathing, will be painful.
Sometimes excess fluid seeps
into the pleural space, a condition known as pleural effusion. Although
pain may stop because there is no longer any friction between the two
layers, pleural effusion is a serious matter that may recur if not
promptly attended to. As with pleurisy, it is treated by draining the effusion
and treating the underlying condition - the pneumonia or other lung infection
that caused the pleural condition.
Many acute respiratory conditions can
become chronic, particularly when aggravated by environmental factors such
as cigarette smoke or air