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Take care of your child’s cough this winter
1 June 2017

Winter has arrived and along with it the sound of coughs. Coughing is common in children, especially when they are preschool age, and is usually shortlived.  However some coughs can be a sign of an infection.

One cough to be aware of is a ‘wet cough’.  A wet cough sounds ‘chesty’ and is phlegmy.  A wet cough is not normal and may need to be checked out by a doctor.  Any cough that lasts more than three weeks is also not normal and needs to be checked out by a doctor.
If in doubt about your child’s cough, always phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 or get it checked out by a doctor.  GP visits and most prescription charges are free for under 13 year olds. 

Respiratory infections in children are much too common and cause a large burden of illness in New Zealand.  “Being able to recognise the early signs of a respiratory infection, and seeking the right treatment straight away, can help to stop minor infections becoming more serious,” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service.

Many children can end up in hospital, or worse have permanent lung damage.  Children in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts are admitted to hospital with chest infections more often than for New Zealand as a whole.

To listen to the sound of a wet cough and for more information, go to

Last modified: 06 Mar 2018
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