fbpx Skip to Content

Call Us Today 478-787-4728

If there was a way to reduce your reactions to allergy triggers, would you opt for it? Through immunotherapy, you can help desensitize your immune system to your triggers, reducing its response to the allergens that affect you.

There are two types of immunotherapy available to patients—traditional and rush. So, what is the difference? Let’s look at what constitutes traditional immunotherapy and compare it to rush immunotherapy to explain their differences and help you determine which treatment plan is right for you.

What Is Traditional Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy, sometimes called allergy shots, exposes the immune system to small samples of your allergy triggers to desensitize it. Over time, your system will learn not to react as severely or at all to any troublesome allergens.

How Does Traditional Immunotherapy Work?

Allergy Testing

To begin immunotherapy, you and your allergist need to know the substances that trigger reactions from your immune system. You will likely undergo an allergy test if you have never been tested before or if you think your reactions have changed since your last test. (It’s not unheard of for a patient’s immune system to stop reacting to one known allergen but begin responding to another. Retesting after a long period of time may be necessary if you or your allergist feel that retesting would be appropriate.)


Once your test reveals your triggers and your doctor approves you for immunotherapy, your treatment can begin. Immunotherapy is not a one-time shot but rather a series of many shots administered over the course of several years. Your allergist will likely administer your shots in the arm, injecting a small amount of your allergen subcutaneously, or just beneath the skin’s surface.

How Long Does Traditional Immunotherapy Last?

As mentioned, immunotherapy is not a one-time treatment but a series of allergy shots administered routinely for up to five years. The slow but steady process allows your immune system to become desensitized to your triggers without becoming overreactive or overwhelmed.

The Build-Up Phase

The first few months of immunotherapy are part of the build-up phase, where your allergist works to steadily expose your immune system to your allergens. You could expect to receive a shot once a week or even twice a week for a while, but over time, you will begin receiving shots every other week and then every four weeks until you have reached the necessary dosage for immunity.

Maintenance Phase

After the build-up phase, you will enter the maintenance phase, where you will receive an allergy shot about once a month over the course of 3 to 5 years. During and after treatment, patients can expect to experience a significant decrease in allergies or a total remission from their allergy symptoms. However, it is possible to experience a resurgence of symptoms after completing treatment. In these cases, a longer period of maintenance may be necessary.

What Allergies or Conditions Can Immunotherapy Treat?

Immunotherapy is effective for patients who suffer from:

  • Allergic asthma
  • Airborne allergens (dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and pollen)
  • Hay fever
  • Stinging insect allergies
  • Hives
  • Immunologic diseases

What Is Rush Immunotherapy?

Rush immunotherapy for allergies is a variation of traditional immunotherapy that offers a treatment plan on a shorter timeline—a much shorter timeline. Instead of requiring regimented allergy shots over the course of several months in the build-up phase, patients who undergo rush immunotherapy can complete this phase in just days.

Allergy free. Happy young woman smelling lilac in modern kitchen. Seasonal allergy concept.

How Does Rush Immunotherapy Work?

Just like traditional immunotherapy, patients undergo allergy testing to determine their exact triggers.

If approved for rush immunotherapy, their allergist will begin you on a series of medications that help lower your body’s response to allergens. Medications can include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • H2 blockers
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists

This is to prepare for the first round of shots, which will be administered on the same day. Day one of shots is considered the build-up phase, where you receive the highest tolerated dose of allergens in that appointment. Then, you will enter the maintenance phase, requiring follow-up shots starting weekly and then proceeding monthly.

What Allergies or Conditions Can Rush Immunotherapy Treat?

Rush immunotherapy is not effective for as many allergies or conditions as traditional immunotherapy. However, it is a viable treatment for allergies to airborne triggers such as:

  • Mold
  • Pet Dander
  • Pollen

FAQS About Rush Immunotherapy

Because of the speed at which rush immunotherapy is administered, patients often have questions about this treatment plan:

Is rush immunotherapy safe?

Yes. Rush immunotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for approved patients. Your allergist will determine whether you are a good candidate for this treatment plan.

How long does it take to notice improvements?

Results can vary, but many patients see improvements in their symptoms shortly after the build-up phase. Others may notice improvements once they are well into the maintenance phase.

What is the time commitment for the build-up phase of rush immunotherapy?

The first day of rush immunotherapy will last a few hours as you receive several shots in this appointment. Your appointment will not exceed these few hours, and you will have some rest periods between shots.

Are you ready to reduce your allergy symptoms or say goodbye to them altogether? Talk to Langford Allergy about traditional or rush immunotherapy today!

Dr. Langford and our team offer relief from your allergies through effective treatments such as immunotherapy. We’ll be glad to share more about this beneficial option at your next appointment. Schedule your consultation today: 478-787-4728.

Related articles:

Skin Patch Testing for Allergies: What to Expect

What Are Some Causes of Hay Fever?

Can Cold Weather Cause Allergies?