And many families feel helpless.
But a team of researchers in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is trying to change that.
Scientists set out to develop a therapy for peanut allergies and according to at least one family in Winston-Salem, it's already working.
Dr. Brian Vickery is heading up the study in Chapel Hill and admits there's a ton of interest in his work from around the world.
The concept behind his research is straightforward: build tolerance to the peanut protein through repeated exposure.
“Over time, we`re gradually able to take that dose from a tiny fraction of a peanut to the point where they`re taking ten to 15 peanuts a day where they aren`t having symptoms,” says Dr. Vickery.
While Doctor Vickery says he's optimistic about research results so far, he stops short of calling it a cure.
“The truth is we`re nowhere near that,” says Dr. Vickery. “This is a research project that is showing some promising results and we want to highlight that this is encouraging. We`re excited. But there is much, much that we don`t know.”