DAYS before we left for America, I began to develop a cold.

I could imagine nothing worse than making the trip with streaming nose, sneezing all over the place, trapped in an aeroplane cabin where the air is constantly recycled and the passengers are crammed in tighter than sardines.

So I dosed myself with every conceivable cure known to man and, by the time we travelled, it was under control and suppressed by Contac tablets.

While there, I ran out of tablets and bought a packet of something similar in a pharmacy. Then I read the label. The warnings were dire.

Exceed the stated dose and you will die.

Then I noticed adverts on television for other medication.

Use more than one patch at a time and you will die.

Bad feet? Use so-and-so. But be careful, use too much and they could drop off and you will die.

Bad breath? Use so-and-so. But be careful, use too much and your throat could close up and you will die.

All medical adverts were the same. They gave the positive side first and then listed every catastrophe possible that could happen, just to cover themselves under the law. Which is very necessary in the land of litigation.

Still. Not to worry. My cold had almost gone.

Then we got on the plane for the nine hour flight back to Amsterdam to come home (change there for Liverpool) and who sat next to me? A young Dutch bloke with a streaming cold who kept blowing his nose and putting his tissues on the pull-down table in front of him.

You've guessed it. I'm sneezing again.