Pleurisy Symptom #2: Cough
While some people with pleurisy may not have it, coughing is a common pleurisy symptom. A cough occurs as a reflex due to irritation or inflammation of the lungs. And while in most cases coughing expels foreign bodies from inside the lungs, the inflammation of the pleura, located on the outside of the lungs causes the same reflex aimed at protecting the lungs. However, a cough associated with pleurisy is usually unproductive because the fluid is outside of the lungs.
In healthy pleura, the space between the two layers of pleura contains a small amount of fluid whose purpose is to lubricate the two surfaces as they move against each other during the breathing process. Irritation of these surfaces sets off the coughing reflex.