The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that 25 percent of American suffer from allergies. The uncomfortable symptoms can make life very unpleasant and if you cannot eliminate the allergy, reducing exposure to irritants becomes paramount. Your home is full of offenders and there are some home improvement tips that can help keep your symptoms at bay.

Seal Up Your House

Pollen and other irritants floating around outside can easily make their way into your house through the smallest of openings. To keep these unwelcome visitors out, caulk up holes in the floors and walls; put weather-stripping around your windows and doors. Put screening over the vents in your bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. These measures will also keep cockroaches and mice out of the house; their droppings get into the air easily and can be a major irritant to someone with allergies or asthma.

Ditch the Curtains for Blinds

Curtains can easily collect dust and other irritants. Consider replacing them with blinds; there is much greater variety now and you will likely be able to find something stylish that fits your décor. If you cannot part with curtains, choose ones that at least easy to wash and do so at least once a month. Clean blinds regularly as well.

Install Allergen-Blocking Furnace Filters

Purifying the air coming through your vents is one of the most important things you can do to fight allergies and asthma. Install furnace filters specifically designed to trap allergens. They may be more expensive than standard filters but if it will help you breathe easier and eliminate the unpleasant symptoms of allergies, it is worth the expense.

Swap Carpet for Hard Flooring

if you have allergies or asthma, carpeting can really exacerbate your symptoms. No matter how well you vacuum, you can never quite get it all and anytime someone walks on it, allergens will inevitably get kicked up into the air. Any type of hard flooring is better than carpeting, but the manufacturing process of some types can contain harmful substances that can irritate allergy sufferers. If you are interested in vinyl, laminate or bamboo flooring, make sure you inquire about any chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Smooth stone is a better choice than porous stone. Other good choices include cork, hardwood, porcelain and ceramic.

Get Some House Plants

Not only will house plants spruce up your décor and boost your mood, they naturally improve indoor air quality. You want to get the right plants though. A two-year study by NASA found the following plants were most efficient at filtering harmful substances from the air: English ivy, spider plant, golden pothos, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, bamboo palm, snake plant, heartleaf philodendron, selloum philodendron, elephant ear philodendron, red-edged dracaena, cornstalk dracaena, Janet Craig dracaena, Warneck dracaena, weeping fig, gerbera daisy, pot mum and rubber plant. To reap maximum benefits, a 2,000 square foot house should have 15 to 18 plants that come in containers of at least 6 inches.

Consider Replacing Grass with Artificial Turf

If you are particularly sensitive to pollen, replacing your grass with artificial turf can significantly decrease your exposure in the immediate area surrounding your home. It is also much easier to maintain than natural grass-no more worrying about having to mow the lawn or put down fertilizer.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content. If you are in the market for home improvement products, check out Accent Building Products for a range of decorative items for your windows, doors and every other part of your house.