Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you catch pleurisy?"
My friend had pleurisy and now I think my chest hurts too. Did I catch it from her? Can you catch pleurisy?
As you know from your friend's experience, pleurisy can be very painful. In general, pleurisy refers to an inflammation and irritation of the lining (the pleura) surrounding the lung. Most often this inflammation is caused by an infection of some kind, including respiratory viral infections or bacterial infections including pneumonia. If your friend's symptoms were due to an infection, especially a respiratory virus, you could certainly have caught the same infection from her. However, pleuritic chest pain is also associated with many other different conditions that are not contagious. A pneumothorax (partially collapsed lung) can cause pleurisy, as can underlying lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis, blood clots in the lungs, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases including lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, or chest surgeries or procedures. If you are experiencing chest pain, the best thing to do is to seek immediate medical attention to make sure that you don't have a serious illness. In particular, if your chest pain is associated with fevers, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, you should be seen by a physician right away, even if that means going to the emergency department. A emergency/urgent care physician or your primary care doctor will want to take a detailed history of your chest pain and other associated symptoms and examine you to make sure that any underlying health issues are treated properly.
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