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If, like me, you’re one of the 19.2 million adults in the U.S. who suffer from allergic rhinitis—also known as hay fever—this story’s for you. Since I was a child, I’ve endured nasal congestion and sneezing fits, eventually graduating from snot-nosed kid to stuffy-sounding adult. After a test revealed I’m highly allergic to dust mites in particular (great, they’re everywhere!), I’ve been doing the best I can to manage my allergies on my own.
I wear masks while cleaning because just wiping down a dusty surface will trigger an attack. I opted for nasal septoplasty surgery and turbinate reduction to improve how my nose functions. I installed air purifiers in every room. I dabbled in over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines without truly understanding how they worked. But I never pursued an allergist-vetted treatment plan, largely because the process—doctor’s appointments, endless specialist referrals, weekly shots—sounded time-consuming and overwhelming.
That’s where Picnic comes in. Like many direct-to-consumer services, this telemedicine company is on a mission to bring personalized allergy relief directly to you, bypassing visits with clinicians and trips to the pharmacy. For allergy sufferers with busy lives, Picnic’s streamlined, subscription-based service offers the ultimate in convenience, customization, and customer service. No more emails to your boss asking if it’s okay to leave early for your allergist appointment. No more wandering down drugstore aisles, trying to decipher which pill or patch might work. No more waiting lists to see the fully booked immunologist in your area. Just a few mouse clicks and you’re set.
On behalf of my fellow runny-nosed, watery-eyed comrades, I eagerly set out to learn whether or not a Picnic subscription could truly help better manage my allergies. Keep reading for my honest review of the service—because we all know allergies are no picnic.
Itching For Your Treatment Plan?
My first step was to fill out a virtual quiz, designed by allergists to offer the best recommendation for my symptoms—whether it’s post-nasal drip, runny nose, or all of the above. The questions are aimed at understanding symptoms, severity, treatment history, and more, even checking what state I’m in to understand the allergens most prevalent in my area and when.
The three-minute questionnaire quickly analyzed my answers and revealed customized results: Azelastine eye drops (generic Optivar), Fluticasone nasal spray (generic Flonase), Azelastine nasal spray (generic Astepro), and Cetirizine (generic Zyrtec). A one-month supply for everything clocked in at $108, while a three-month supply offered significant savings at $223. Any plan with prescription medication requires a virtual doctor consultation, which adds an annual fee of $5. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment—so yours will likely vary from mine.
If you’ve ever been teased and called a “mouth breather” because you can’t breathe properly through your nose while sleeping, $228 sounds like a perfectly reasonable price for a three-month supply. Just note that as an entirely self-pay service, Picnic doesn’t accept insurance for medical consultations or products, most of which are over-the-counter and not covered anyway. (They do, however, accept FSA and HSA cards.) And since Picnic operates on a subscription basis, it automatically charges your card and refills medications depending on the cadence you selected if you don’t pause or cancel, which you’re allowed to do at any time.
Get To Nose Your Virtual Allergist
In less than seven days, my treatment pack arrived in the mail—beautifully designed and packaged with precise instruction cards for each product. According to the brand, 80% of allergy sufferers choose the wrong over-the-counter medication for their symptoms. Meanwhile, the ones who’ve found the right treatment are often using it incorrectly, like taking antihistamines too early in the day or not nasal spraying as directed.
To prevent that from happening, Picnic makes its team of experts fully accessible to provide education, support, and guidance. While your relationship with its licensed doctors is strictly virtual, you can message them with questions or concerns via a secure online portal. They’ll respond as quickly as schedules permit, but it should never take more than 24 hours to get a reply.
Nasal Congestion? Snot Your Problem Anymore
After a month of using Picnic’s recommended products, I’m now fully on board with nasal sprays. Considered the gold standard of treatment options, my Fluticasone steroid spray helps provide relief from nasal symptoms. But the team was careful to manage expectations, warning it could take up to two weeks of daily use to experience any benefits—which turned out to be true.
As an eye drop newbie, I also love Picnic’s prescription-strength formula, which is highly effective for watery eyes. Boasting both antihistamines and inflammatory inhibitors, the drops work faster than oral medications. Meanwhile, my prescribed Cetirizine offers a measure of relief during a 24-hour period; since it reaches its max effect after two or three hours, I take Picnic’s advice to swallow one at night, in an effort to wake up symptom-free. When used in conjunction with one another, my treatment plan works—as long as I’m applying everything correctly and consistently.
My take on Picnic? While its service recommends the same OTC or prescription medications you can get from your own doctor or drugstore, Picnic offers a unique advantage (aside from its cool, millennial-friendly branding, of course). The company caters to people with active lifestyles who don’t have time to make their allergies a priority, even if they should. Its convenient auto-ship refills eliminate the possibility of ever running out, while its on-call customer service is sort of like having your personal allergist on speed dial—someone who can field any question under the sun about how to optimize your treatment or get ahead of allergy season.
My allergies aren’t cured and never will be. But Picnic makes it ridiculously easy and simple to manage my symptoms—and that’s the best those of us with runny noses and itchy throats can hope for.
5 More Reasons to Get a Picnic Subscription:
- The brand is brought to you by Thirty Madison, the healthcare company behind Keeps (men’s hair loss treatments), Cove (migraine relief), and Evens (personalized gastrointestinal care), which is focused on supporting millions of people living with chronic conditions.
- If you’d rather hand-pick your medications rather than take a quiz, simply browse Picnic’s entire portfolio of treatments, filtering by symptom to shop everything from honey lemon lozenges to saline nasal sprays.
- Picnic offers the cost-effective, generic versions of brand-name treatments known to help allergy sufferers cope with symptoms.
- What’s the difference between a sore throat and post-nasal drip? Or the connection between your diet and allergies? Picnic’s searchable blog contains a wealth of information you won’t want to miss.
- The team provides ongoing support and education—with the understanding that your allergies may change over time depending on various triggers, so your treatment plan should as well.