Asthma Specialist

Richard G. Merkler, MD, FAAP -  - Pediatrician

Richard G. Merkler, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician located in Midtown West, New York, NY

Richard Merkler, MD, FAAP, treats asthma in children at his Midtown West in Manhattan, New York City practice. With over 20 years of experience in pediatric medicine, including childhood asthma and allergies, Dr. Merkler applies his extensive knowledge to diagnose and effectively treat each patient.

Asthma Q&A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a pulmonary disease that causes inflammation in the lungs’ airways. During an attack, acute inflammation narrows the airways until exchanging air is difficult, resulting in wheezing, coughing, and distress.

What are the causes of asthma?

The triggers are different in everyone, but what all asthma sufferers have in common is that their airways are very sensitive to triggers. Common triggers include tobacco smoke, pollution, perfume, cleaning products, allergens, cold or dry weather, stress, physical exertion, medications, infections, and sulfites.

Who is at highest risk of developing asthma?

Half of all asthma cases exist in children, and 2 times as many boys have asthma than girls. It is 10 times more common in developed countries than in undeveloped countries. Risk factors include:

  • Living in the same house as a smoker or smoking
  • Family history of the same disease
  • Suffering from allergies
  • Living in the inner city
  • Frequent exposure to triggers

What are the symptoms of asthma?

The most common symptoms associated with asthma include shortness of breath, pain or tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing while sleeping or trying to sleep, wheezing while exhaling, and fits of coughing. For some patients, asthma symptoms worsen at night, during or after exercise, or during certain seasons.

When is emergency treatment required?

Asthma can be life-threatening. Patients experiencing a severe asthma attack should seek emergency medical treatment through the nearest emergency room. Patients who are unable to breathe, who have found no relief after using their inhaler, or who are struggling to breathe without physical exertion should go directly to the emergency room.

How is asthma treated?

Asthma is treated in 3 ways:

  • Medications, including inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta agonists, combination inhalers, theophylline, and rescue medications
  • Lifestyle changes, which include avoiding triggers whenever possible
  • Bronchial thermoplasty, which limits the airway’s ability to narrow and tighten in severe cases

Dr. Merkler also works with patients and parents to develop an asthma action plan, which dictates when and how much medication to take depending on symptoms. This ensures the patient receives only the amount of medication they need when they need it.


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