Q What do you think of this new advice to use honey and lemon for coughs and colds? Will it work or is it a way of doctors avoiding seeing patients? Matthew, 31

A Many coughs and colds are viral in nature, and honey and lemon have been shown to be as effective as over the counter cough and cold remedies for helping with symptoms, while being considerably cheaper. The average cold can last three weeks. I would advise patients to see their GP if they felt unwell, if their symptoms were getting worse, or if they had any other long term health conditions. However, if after a physical examination, their GP advised them that they did not need antibiotics, self-care methods, including honey and lemon, as well as simple painkillers and drinking enough liquids would be appropriate.

Q My GP x-rayed my knees after I complained of an episode of pain. I was very upset when the results came back as “severe arthritis”, particularly as I am no longer in pain and back to my very active life. Susan, 70

A Although x-rays are often used to support a diagnosis of arthritis, the degree of arthritis on an x-ray is sometimes a poor indicator of severity of symptoms. Some people with severe arthritis on x-ray imaging actually complain of very few symptoms.

Current advice is to stay physically active to maintain your overall health and wellbeing. Physiotherapy and joint injections can help. The only reason to refer you to a surgeon would be if these failed and your pain and mobility worsened and became persistent.

If you have a question for Dr Zak, email askdoctor zak@gmail.com; doctor zak.co.uk; @AskDoctorZak

Dr Uddin’s advice is provided in good faith and in accordance with currently accepted evidence. However, content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek advice of a GP, or other qualified health provider, regarding a medical condition.