Q: My daughter is 8 years old, but she’s already beginning to develop breast tissue and underarm hair. Isn’t she too young for that? Should I be worried? What should I do about it?
A: The good, and possibly surprising, news for you is that everything sounds normal here. Even though 8 years old is a scary age for parents to consider their daughters as starting puberty, it still falls into the range of normal. The beginning of female puberty starts with the development of secondary sex characteristics and usually occurs between ages 8 and 13.
Most girls start showing signs of puberty with the beginning of breast development, or “thelarche,” around age 10. Development of the breasts can be one-sided at first, but breast size will even out with time. Axillary (underarm) or pubic hair usually follows within the next year, and menstruation, or menarche, a year or so after that.
Development of secondary sex characteristics before or after the normal range does not mean anything has to be wrong, but it does mean you should speak to your pediatrician to find out why puberty is early or delayed.
Q: My friend’s baby has a rash a week after his 1-year chicken pox and MMR vaccines. The rash has lasted two weeks, and most of it is on his back and chest with a few spots on the legs and arms. The rash areas are red with blisters on the top. Is this the normal side effect from vaccines? And is it contagious to other kids who have been vaccinated?
A: Poor baby! He’s not alone: 1 percent to 5 percent of kids can get a rash after the chickenpox and MMR vaccines. Usually this rash, sometimes with a low-grade fever, occurs one to two weeks after vaccination. Often it is at the injection site, but it can be scattered.
Since you describe the rash as red with blisters, the chickenpox vaccine is probably the culprit. These blisters can take two weeks to crust over and then longer to disappear entirely.
Chickenpox-vaccinated kids should not worry about the rash being contagious, but unvaccinated or immuno-compromised kids should not have contact until the rash is completely crusted over.
Dr. Diana Blythe is a board-certified pediatrician with Pediatric Associates in Plantation. Write to her at email@example.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun