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Pleurisy - Symptoms of pleurisy

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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The most common symptom of pleurisy is sharp chest pain when breathing in and out.

The pain may be worse when you cough, sneeze or move around and it may be relieved by taking shallow breaths.

As well as chest pain, other symptoms of pleurisy include shortness of breath and a dry cough.

When to seek medical advice

Visit your GP if you have chest pain that does not improve or gets worse after around five to seven days.

When to seek immediate medical advice

Contact your GP immediately if your symptoms suggest that you have a serious underlying condition. For example, if you have symptoms such as:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 40°C (104°F)
  • coughing up thick phlegm or blood
  • serious breathing difficulties
  • intense chest pain that comes on suddenly
  • swelling in your arms or legs (this could indicate a blood clot)
  • persistent cough
  • unexplained weight loss

If it is not possible to talk to your GP immediately, you can call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or contact your local out-of-hours service.

Medical Review: February 11, 2013
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