Health Buzz: Swine Flu Vaccine Months Away and Other Health News

Most affordable nursing homes; kids developing diabetes management tools.

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Swine Flu Update: Vaccine Won't Be Available for Months

Health officials say they plan to eventually make enough swine flu vaccine for all Americans but that the earliest the shots would become available is fall, the Associated Press reports. It will be months before human testing of such a vaccine can begin to make sure it is safe and effective, and if that process goes well, broader production and distribution could start in the fall. The number of cases of swine flu in the United States topped 100 this week, and nearly 300 schools were closed across the nation. Some hospitals and clinics in California, New York, and other states are reporting an increase in patients who are coughing and sneezing—symptoms that might have been ignored prior to the swine flu outbreak.

The closing of schools because of the swine flu poses a dilemma for working moms. Here are 14 things you should know to keep your family safe and 8 ways to get your family ready.

Iowa Leads in Affordable Nursing Homes

Iowa. Land of tall corn, early political caucuses, and, it turns out, more affordable nursing homes than any other state. Genworth Financial, a big player in the long-term care insurance market, released its annual survey of nursing home, assisted-living, and home-care costs this week, Michelle Andrews reports. It found that nursing home and assisted-living costs continue to rise at more than double the rate of inflation, while home-care hourly rates are increasing much more slowly. In addition, this year, the company developed a "choice and affordability index" that ranks states based on nursing home affordability and the number of homes compared with the size of the 65-and-over population. Based on those two measures, Iowa comes in No. 1.

U.S. News's rankings of America's Best Nursing Homes can help you find a facility that is right for your loved one. Also, learn how to determine whether your family member needs a nursing home, how to pick the best facility, and how to pay for long-term care.

Can a Kid Invent a Better Diabetes Management Tool?

Diabetes is a pain to manage, and the tools needed—meters, test strips, lancets, and pumps—don't make it much easier, Nancy Shute reports. But a contest whose entries are due today offers the chance to invent a killer app for diabetes management and pick up a cool $2,000. That's the prize for kids under 18 in the 2009 Diabetes Mine Design Contest. Adults can snag $10,000. The contest grew out of Diabetes Mine blogger Amy Tenderich's open letter to Steve Jobs. She asked the Apple mogul why his company could come up with such elegant hardware for listening to MP3s while 20 million diabetics are stuck with kludgy, ugly equipment. Why not have customizable ring tones? Thumb wheels? Wireless pumps? Submissions can be a two-minute YouTube video or an elevator pitch; here's how to enter.

If you're a parent concerned about your child's risk of diabetes, consider these 5 ways to prevent diabetes in your teenager. This new approach to managing diabetes may be helpful to those already diagnosed with the condition, and these 4 tips for a low-carb diet may also be useful.

January W. Payne

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