MY PARTNER and I are both full of a horrible, lingering cold and cough at the moment. I haven’t had one for what seems like years, and you forget how debilitating they are.

Things that normally take no time at all are suddenly a big deal, and the idea of Christmas just round the corner is daunting. For the first time ever, I have done most of my Christmas shopping online.

We’ve taken all the usual off-the-shelf remedies to no avail, and friends have let us know their ways of tackling ‘nasty colds’, but they haven’t worked for us.

At times, you start to wonder is it a cold or could it be flu? How do you know the difference? People say you know when you have flu, but do you really?

You don’t want to go to the doctor because you don’t want to mither when you know they won’t give you anything anyway, and then there’s the thought that you could just be spreading this ‘nasty cold’ to even more people.

We think we know where we got it from. We visited our friend’s baby grandchild recently and he was really struggling with a chest infection. Somehow, you want to blame someone, but when it’s a baby and he is so poorly, you just have to accept we would probably have got it one way or another and hope he gets better soon.

We have been reminded of the winter flu jab and remember reading in the Guardian that last year’s jab wasn’t as effective as in previous years.

I don’t usually bother with the injection because I can’t see how they can be sure they have the right strain, though my partner has one every year. Apparently it was only effective for one in three people and that is less than previous years, when usually it works for about 50 per cent of people.

‘A shift in the dominating circulating strains’ is said to be the reason and there are different strains that affect younger people, and hence different vaccinations for that age group, which I didn’t realise.

Frankly, feeling the way I do now, that’s not a bad result. If having one could stop me getting something that, let’s face it, would probably be a lot worse than what I’ve got now, well, in future, I think I’ll take the plunge.

Apparently, the numbers of people having the jab locally are down on previous years, which is a shame. People aged 65 or over, pregnant women and people with health issues can usually get the jab free of charge from their GP. For the rest of us, I’ve noticed that pharmacies are offering the injections for about £7 to £10, which, when you consider how much I have spent on so-called remedies, is worth the investment.

Perhaps it’s not even too late for this year?