Are you someone who is suffering from a respiratory virus with a cough? Is it dragging on?

And just when you think you’re feeling better, does it appear to start up all over again? Well, join the club! There’s a lot of it about, as they say.  

I gather that in Lowestoft they now refer to it as the 100-day cough, which would be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.    

Talking to a doctor last week, he explained that normally by mid to late April we’re enjoying reliably sunny days which not only lift our mood but also chase viruses away. This year, alas, the weather hasn’t played ball.  

So, what can we do?

A close friend, who’s a medic, says that simple, common sense strategies are as good a way forward as any.

Rest when you feel you need to. Wrap up warm, and go out every day, even for just a short walk; most of us feel better for getting our legs working and elevating our heart rate, and there’s something therapeutic about being in a breeze and imagining the germs being blown away.   

Also, stick with tried and tested remedies rather than keep searching in your local pharmacy for a miraculous cough linctus.

Is there one? I doubt it. Drink a lot of lemon and honey drinks. Try gargling with a salt solution, and inhaling steam at the beginning and end of each day.

These are the tactics our grannies swore by, and they work. Also, one positive side-effect I’ve noticed from the steam is that my skin looks better than usual which is a welcome silver lining!

Crucially, you must keep yourself hydrated. So, make sure you are drinking much more water than usual as it will help with the irritating tickle in your throat.

Obviously, tea, coffee and alcohol can perk you up, but they don’t have the hydrating qualities that water has. In fact, they are diuretics so you can’t rely on them for keeping up your fluid intake.

And what about milk and other dairy products? There’s a common belief that these increase our problems, though various clinical studies have disputed this.

I think there’s some truth in it though, and the majority of people I know who use their voice for a living – public speakers, actors, singers and so on, all seem to believe that milky drinks and cheese add to their woes if they have anything wrong with the chest, sinuses or throat, and they avoid them like the plague.

So, you might want to think about that.  

However, what I really want you to focus on is your state of mind.

For a start, please take on board that plenty of younger people have the same viruses as we do, and that they’re finding it just as hard as we are to get better.

It’s important that we accept this, because I think as we get older, we make ourselves worse by believing that we succumb to more of these illnesses than the young, that our recovery is slower and that things are only going to get worse with age.

These are gloomy thoughts which don’t help us. But they do crop up – particularly at 3 am when we can’t stop coughing and feel like death.

If you have that kind of poor night, I suggest you break the cycle of coughing and negative thinking and get up and make a hot soothing drink.

Then, keeping yourself warm, wander around, or maybe sit and do a sudoku. Once you have cheered up a bit, you’ll probably be able to go back to sleep.   

In the morning, life should feel better, and you may even be able to admit to yourself that you were getting a trifle melodramatic the night before.

Make breakfast. Then plan your day, ensuring that you won’t spend it in total isolation.

Even a trip to the nearest shop should lift your spirits – especially if you talk to someone there.

Also, do makes sure if your illness means you are alone much of the time, that you make the effort to FaceTime, Zoom or Whatsapp one or two friends or relatives every day. It’s very tough being alone when you’re poorly.

But please do you all you can to maintain social contact with other folk. You’ll feel vastly better if you do and this will chase your demons away.

Finally, when I phoned a cousin in Scotland the other day at a point when I was feeling quite sorry for myself, I learned of a tip that her late father used to recommend.

It was simply to boil up some lemonade and once it was cool enough not to burn the throat, to sip it gently.  

Her father was always one of my favourite relatives, so I couldn’t resist trying Uncle John’s remedy.  

To be honest, I doubt it’s more effective than an ordinary lemon and honey drink.

But it tastes lovely, is very soothing, has hints of childhood about it, and might well cheer you up.

Give it a go, if you fancy it. And here’s to better health all round very soon!