Cough, runny nose, sore throat

If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor, iwi health provider or Healthline 0800 358 5453. They will let you know if you should have a COVID-19 test.

Does my cough, runny nose or sore throat mean I have COVID-19?

The possible symptoms of COVID-19 are broad and range from no symptoms at all through to increasing breathing problems that mean you need to go straight to hospital. They include:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • head cold, eg, a runny or  nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip (mucus running down the back of your nose to your throat)
  • loss of smell 
  • with or without fever.

However, the most common cause of a cough, sore throat or runny nose is a viral infection such as a cold or the flu. If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor, iwi health provider or Healthline 0800 358 5453. They will let you know if you should have a COVID-19 test. See also when to get a COVID-19 testcommunity-based testing centres and nasal swab tests for COVID-19

What should I do if I don't need a COVID-19 test?

If your symptoms are mild and are not related to COVID-19, you can find some helpful tips for managing them in this brochure: 


Read about these symptoms and related conditions:

Seek urgent medical advice if you or someone you are caring for develops any of these danger symptoms:  

  • severe headache or neck pain
  • light hurts your eyes
  • drowsy, floppy or difficult to wake
  • skin rash
  • high fever (38 to 40 degrees Celsius) that doesn’t come down (especially if you are pregnant)
  • unusual or high-pitched cry.

If you are unsure what to do, phone Healthline free on 0800 611 116 or your doctor for advice.



Learn more

Colds Health Navigator, NZ
Influenza (the flu) Health Navigator, NZ
Antibiotic resistance Health Navigator, NZ

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team. Reviewed By: Dr Janine Bycroft, GP, Auckland Last reviewed: 02 Jun 2020