I have a new hobby: blowing my nose. Not the most riveting of pastimes but my hope is that framing said activity in this way will make it seem less like a chore and more of a fun way to pass the time.

I have to do something about it at any rate, for at the time of writing I have had a cold for 11 days. I now have to blow my nose about every 20 minutes. This is an improvement on the five-minute intervals my nose demanded not so long ago, but it is still taking up far too much of my time.

As HSJ Towers is now an “eco-friendly” office where we are not allowed bins under our desks but have communal rubbish areas (so we think twice before throwing something away, see), I also spend considerable time walking to the bin to throw used tissues away. Add in the not inconsiderable amounts of paper products that I have been subsequently throwing away (and I haven’t been able to find pocket hankies made from recycled paper, which adds to my environmental guilt) and you have loss leaders all round.

But at least I have the Department of Health on my side. Has anyone seen its updated “coughs and sneezes spread diseases”-style posters, exhorting the snuffling public to catch sneezes in a tissue, dispose of it immediately and wash their hands afterwards? All noble thoughts, although not all easily achievable while travelling on public transport. Constant coughing and nose blowing is one way to get a seat on the bus to yourself, though.

Anyway, as I was saying, I have had this cold for 11 days and it shows few signs of shifting. This regardless of me taking a day off, getting enough sleep and eating oranges and an OK diet. I know everyone’s immune system gives up the ghost occasionally but, readers, my patience is wearing thin.

I see that the chief medical officer has told the public that anyone still suffering a cough after three weeks should see a doctor. But how long should one put up with a cold before seeking a medical opinion? Any tips on how to spend the winter cold-free? For my sake and those of the doubtless countless readers currently suffering from this unhappily common condition, send in your thoughts.