Common Cold 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 safe and effective treatment for the common cold and related problems in pediatric patients in Manhattan, New York City. By taking the time to listen and fully evaluate each patient, he identifies underlying causes and treats accordingly at his pediatric practice located in Midtown West.

Common Cold Q&A

What are the signs and symptoms of the common cold?

The most common symptoms of a cold include:

  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose or runny nose
  • Mild fever
  • Sneezing

What other conditions might present like a cold?

Influenza and seasonal allergies sometimes present like a cold. Cold symptoms that last more than 2 weeks may, in fact, be seasonal allergies, especially if there’s no fever present and there are symptoms associated with the eyes (itching, watery, red, or dry eyes). Influenza is a potentially serious viral illness that sometimes begins like a cold but causes high fevers, body aches, chills, sweats, and severe fatigue. It’s important to seek evaluation from a Dr. Merkler, especially in very young children, to ensure the diagnosis is accurate and the treatment is adequate.

When is medical treatment necessary?

Medical treatment is recommended for influenza-like symptoms, but should also be sought if:

  • An infant is having trouble eating or drinking
  • There is difficulty breathing
  • A high fever exists
  • The child is unresponsive or very fatigued

In some cases, no treatment may be required, but it’s still important to confirm through a comprehensive evaluation and exam. In other cases, children with fever need a doctor’s note to return to school or daycare.

How is the common cold treated?

The common cold generally runs its course over just a few days and then resolves. When symptoms become problematic, over-the-counter medications can be used to alleviate discomfort.

What causes colds?

Contrary to popular belief, colds aren’t caused by cold weather. A variety of viruses cause a common cold, but in most cases, a rhinovirus is to blame. These viruses are spread through the air when someone infected coughs, talks, or sneezes near a healthy person.

Can colds be prevented?

While there’s no sure way to prevent getting a cold or completely stop it in its tracks, there are several measures patients can take to decrease the odds of becoming sick:

  • Avoid touching public surfaces, like door knobs and carts, with bare hands or before disinfecting thoroughly
  • Avoid touching the face (eyes, nose, mouth) without first washing hands with an antibacterial soap
  • Wash hands frequently for the entire duration of the Happy Birthday song twice
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces like counters, desks, handrails, doorknobs, and phones


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