Minor coughs and colds
Coughs and colds are common in tamariki and adults, and more common during winter. Most coughs and colds are not anything to worry about.
They can cause:
- a runny or blocked nose
- an itchy sore throat
- a cough
- a mild fever
- a hoarse voice
Any cough or cold that lasts more than 4 weeks or happens with other symptoms like a high fever or difficulty breathing needs to be checked by a healthcare provider.
Treating coughs and colds
Most coughs and colds do not need to be treated with prescribed medicines. Antibiotics do not work against viruses.
The best ways to treat a cold or cough is to:
- get plenty of rest
- drink fluids such as water
- take paracetamol to help relieve pain, fever or discomfort — follow the instructions on the label
- use saline nasal drops or spray to help relieve a stuffy nose.
Do not use vapour rubs to relieve congestion in pēpi (babies) or tamariki as these can cause airway irritation and breathing distress.
When to get medical help
Coughs and colds can be similar to other more serious illnesses. If you are not sure what you or your tamariki have, it is important to check with a healthcare provider.
Coughs and colds can be similar to COVID-19 or the flu. Find out more about their symptoms. You can easily test for COVID-19 with a RAT test.
Whooping cough (pertussis) causes breathing difficulties and severe coughing fits. The cough can go on for weeks or months. It can sometimes cause a 'whoop' sound. Find out more about symptoms, treatment and prevention.