Cough/Chesty Cough

  • When young children catch a cold they often develop a ‘noisy chest’ or a ‘chesty cough’. This can be worrying for parents who believe that a chesty cough is a sign of a ‘chest infection’.
  • Young children often get noisy chests. This is because they have smaller airways and thinner rib cages than adults.
  • A child with a true chest infection will generally be more ‘unwell’.

How long will it last?

A cough can go on for up to 3 weeks

What can I do about it?

Coughing helps the body fight against infection and can take a while to go. Cough syrups probably do not help. See section “What can I do?” for suggestions of how to help.

Do antibiotics help?

Most people who take antibiotics do not get better any faster than people who do not take them. Looking at adults and children with bronchitis (chesty cough), on average, people taking antibiotics will have a cough for only half a day less than those who don’t.