Kelly S. Matthews
April 6, 2015
Vulnerable populations have an increased risk for poor health and have a potential to be susceptible for potential illnesses. There are many different aspects and circumstances that make a person or populations vulnerable. Knowing what makes you vulnerable and accessing needed care can decrease your risk to susceptible diseases and illnesses. Self awareness is the key to understanding the affects of vulnerability and accessing necessary care to maintain optimal health.
In the Neighborhood 2.0, I chose the Young Family. The Young family is a young, African American family that lives a comfortable life. The Young family is a family of four, with health insurance and great family support. Steve is a college educated man that provides a great life for his family. Although Steve is healthy he is a smoker. Race, ethnicity, social status and personal limitations can affect vulnerability. Steve Young is an African American man who works a very stressful job. He has been a smoker since he was 17 years old. In the Neighborhood, we learn that Steve’s daughter, Kelsey, has been treated several times for allergies and chronic coughing. I chose to take a closer look at Kelsey, for my vulnerable population. She is vulnerable because she is an African American child who has been diagnosed with Asthma. She has no control over the circumstances that could have contributed to her diagnosis of asthma. She is unable to control her exposure to second hand smoke from her father, who has tried multiple times to quit. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke can have more ear infections, cough and colds, respiratory problems, pneumonia and tooth decay.
According to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute “Asthma is a complex chronic inflammatory lung disease characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, and underlying inflammation causing recurrent episodes of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness in susceptible persons” (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2007). Asthma is a chronic condition that contributes to differences in genetics and socioeconomic status. According to Rance, O'Laughlen, and Ting (2010) “there is an estimated 6.8 million children in the United States with asthma (p. 235). Second hand smoke can trigger asthma in children. In the Neighborhood we learn that Kelsey’s father has a very stressful job, which has been a factor in his inability to successfully stop smoking. He has tried several times to stop smoking cold turkey, but when he is stressed he begins to rationalize and start smoking again. The Young’s are your typical African-American family, they live in a nice home and have adequate healthcare, but other factors contribute to their vulnerability.
I have experience the effects of how someone is affected by secondhand smoke. I lost my cousin at the age of 39 from asthma complications. She had suffered from asthma since she was a child. Her husband was a smoker and she was constantly in and out of the hospital with asthma flare-ups and complications. She ultimately lost her battle with asthma and left 3 children to be raised by other family members. I find myself being very judgmental of smokers and often wonder what they get out of smoking. But I’ve had to take a look at myself when I begin to judge someone’s lifestyle or choices. Society can be so harsh and we never know what someone is facing or dealing with. I wasn’t aware that African-Americans were more at risk for asthma before taking a closer look in the disease. I just thought that it was a condition that could affect anyone regardless of your ethnicity or race. Asthma is becoming a chronic problem in America and I think bringing awareness and education to the disease will help understand it and give a better look into treatment and prevention. If we inform and