Ask the doctor

Q I recently suffered a broken nose and now it is always blocked.

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I have had two severe colds since and now have coldsores. Could there be a connection?

A There should be no direct link between breaking your nose and contracting two severe viral infections – that is probably just bad luck.

But what can happen when you break your nose is that the septum – the thin bony tissue that separates both nostrils – can become displaced.

This can cause a narrowing at the top of one or other nostril, leading to a feeling of congestion and being bunged up a lot of the time.

This will be much more noticeable when you have a viral respiratory infection.

Your GP can advise on this and may suggest referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Q I am a 63-year-old woman, in good physical health but have been prescribed 800mg of lithium daily for the past 15 years.

For the past month I have had to go to the toilet at least every two hours and this continues all through the night.

I drink a lot of fluids because of the lithium, but could this be a problem with my kidneys due to the medication?

A Urinary frequency is a known side-effect of lithium but this should settle with regular use.

The symptoms you have are not related to the drug damaging your kidneys, but it is important you tell your doctor about what is happening because, rarely, the drug can cause a condition known as diabetes insipidus.

This needs to be excluded because it can cause problems over time.

If you have not done so, see your doctor and let him or her know what is going on.


THE term describes a large distance between the ankles when the knees are touching.

It is common in young children, but is not usually anything to worry about. In most cases, it corrects itself by the age of six. Treatment may be necessary if knock knee does not correct itself.

In children between the ages of two and four, a gap of up to 6cm (2½in) is considered normal. A small degree of 'knocking' of the knees is normal. However, see your child's GP for advice if they show any of the these signs:

n A large difference between the angle of one leg and the other when standing straight.

n An excessive inward or outward knee angle.

n Pain linked to the angle of their knee.

n Difficulty walking or an awkward way of walking.


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