Is it me or has the sniffles season started early this year? Autumn has barely begun but already my unfortunate colleagues have been laid low by a variety of bad colds, respiratory infections and various as yet unidentified viruses.

Have immune systems been challenged by the soggy summer? Or has a lack of germ-killing heat meant bugs are thriving early?

I thought my immediate colleagues were faring particularly badly, but as I sit here, I can hear coughs and sneezes coming from the four corners of HSJ Towers. Open plan offices have their enthusiasts, but they are not much good when it comes to keeping germs confined to small areas, nor for coughing or sneezing discreetly.

Meanwhile at my appointment to register with my new GP later this week, I will be able to tell if the wider community has also been laid low. (Twenty minutes sitting in an overheated room full of people who are full of germs - I can't wait.) Bus journeys - my usual barometer of public health - are so far relatively free from coughs and sneezes, but I fear it may only be a matter of time.

I am happy to report though that I have kept one encroaching bug at bay by staying off work for a day (although I did untold damage to my brain cells through several hours of watching afternoon TV). Staying at home and not seeing anyone is one way to reduce your risk of coming into contact with something unhealthy but not so great for your career or your mental health.

If prevention is the key, perhaps I should be wondering whether to invest in one of those little masks commuters in Tokyo wear. Or perhaps I should take a look at the world of alternative medicine. As the Telegraph asked David Cameron: echinacea or Nurofen?

Send in your cold/bugs prevention techniques to the usual address, please. We will fight them together.