Allergies Specialist

Richard G. Merkler, MD, FAAP -  - Pediatrician

Richard G. Merkler, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician located in Midtown West, New York, NY

Richard Merkler, MD, FAAP, provides expert allergy treatment and management for pediatric patients at his Midtown West in Manhattan, New York City practice. Seeking treatment for allergies is important; untreated environmental allergies can cause ongoing pain, discomfort, and even further complications.

Allergies Q&A

What are environmental or seasonal allergies?

In people with environmental allergies, the immune system reacts to normal environmental substances, such as pet dander, pollen, and dust, as if they were harmful. This results in the release of histamine, which causes uncomfortable cold-like symptoms.

How can a patient tell the difference between allergies and a cold?

There are a few ways to determine whether the culprit is a cold or allergies:

  • How do symptoms appear? If they appear one by one, a cold is more likely; allergic symptoms all come at the same time.
  • What time of year is it? Colds are most common during winter months, while allergies are most common during spring and fall months.
  • How long does it last? Colds last 7-10 days while allergies last as long as there is exposure to the allergen.
  • What color is nasal discharge? With colds, nasal discharge might be yellowish or green, while allergic nasal discharge is usually clear.
  • Is a fever present? Colds might be accompanied by fever, while allergies aren’t.

What are the signs and symptoms of allergies?

The most common symptoms of environmental or seasonal allergies include:

  • Runny nose or stuffy nose
  • Itchy, watery, or dry eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Sinus pressure
  • Skin rashes

What are the most common allergens in children?

Children’s allergies often closely mimic those of adults. The most common allergens include pets, dust mites, pollen, and mold spores. In the inner-city, mice and cockroaches are common allergens for children.

How are allergies treated?

Treatment plans generally include 2 components: medication and exposure control.

Medications used often include long-acting, non-drowsy antihistamines in combination with a nasal spray approved for the patient’s age. These medications, when combined, can help minimize allergy symptoms.

Exposure control is the process of ensuring the child’s exposure to allergens is as limited as possible. When children are allergic to pets, this may include swapping out carpet for wood floors and keeping the pet out of the child’s room and especially off of their bed. When the allergen is mold, it may include setting up a dehumidifier at home and having all pipes checked for leaks to prevent the growth of mold.

Can a child be cured of an allergy?

There is no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed long-term through a variety of treatments. In some cases, children naturally outgrow their allergies.


We accept the majority of health insurance plans. Please contact our office if you do not see yours listed or have any other questions.

1199 National Benefit Fund
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
Great West
Oscar Health Insurance Co.
Oxford United Healthcare
United Healthcare