Picky Eaters 10 Pieces of Advice You Never Thought You’d Hear

As a parent, explaining the importance of certain foods to your children may prove to be a hard task than you anticipated. Actually more than 50% of all children in the world are described by their parents as picky eaters which means that they are choosy when it comes to various foods. This comes as a challenge to most parents especially first time parents who have never experience the scenarios of kids rejecting certain foods.

Most parents tend to try hard and force their children to eat the foods they don’t like and this yields in very little or no success at all. Most parent are confused and don’t know what to do with their little picky eaters in the house. A lot of the time, they end up giving in to the demands of their kids and provide only the foods they demand. But should this be the right way to approach a picky eater? Well, here are 10 pieces of advice you never thought you’d hear on picky eaters;

Respect your child’s appetite or lack thereof

Don’t force you child to eat something or a snack when they clearly don’t want the same meal. Don’t try and bribe your child to eat certain foods of he/she doesn’t enjoy that specific type of food. This will only make him/her resist that type of food even more. It is advisable to serve small portions and let them to freely try the foods.

Give them time

Sometimes children need a little more time to adopt to the smell and taste of new foods before they can start comfortably eating them. This means that they can reject these new foods at first and it will only take repeated exposure before they can comfortably start enjoying the foods.

Make it look like the foods they don’t like are very sweet

Want your child to start eat something and stop being picky? Well, make it look like those foods are very sweet. Make them believe that they are missing out on some of the sweetest things in life and within no time, their attitude and perspective towards these foods will change.

Make it fun

Cook the foods the children dislike and try new things with them. Make the food more appealing by trying unconventional things with it. Incorporate shapes into the foods you cut and make it look like real fun. This will make the child more interested and will want to get in on the act.

Shop with your child

Is your child picky? Well, why not take them with you the next time you are out there shopping? Ask them to pick their favorite foods and fruits. Don’t force them to buy anything, just let have it their way. This way your child will be at ease and within no time, they will start listening to your advice on foods.

Let them help you cook

One of the secrets which will help your child overcome his habit of choosing foods, is to always invite them to the kitchen and ask them to help you prepare a meal. This way, they will feel connected to whatever meal they helped you prepare and chances of them wanting to try out the meal they cooked are very high.

Set a good example

If you as a parent are a picky eater, then don’t expect your children to be any different. If you are a picky eater and don’t want your children to grow with the same habit, then hide it from them as much as you can. Set a good example by eating healthy foods and not openly denouncing certain foods and your children will follow suit.

Desserts are not rewards

Some parents make it look like dessert is a reward and an incentive for their children to finish their meals. Although this old trick seems to work and helps children complete their foods, it creates an unhealthy relationship with food when the desserts will go away. This means that they will not be as enthusiastic about eating their foods because they will no longer be getting rewarded for it. This is how children become picky eaters and hate certain foods in their lives.

Don’t always give in to their demands

You child won’t eat veggies? Well, then cook some veggies some days and don’t cook a last-minute meal to make them eat. Make it clear that if they won’t eat the veggies then they will go hungry. They will resist the meals but after a few hours of hunger, they will creep to the kitchen and warm it and eat it. This is how they overcome their picky habits.

Meal times should be meal times

Whether they are going to eat whatever you prepared or not, make it clear that meal times are family times and everyone needs to be at the table. This means that no one will be allowed to watch television or play games while the rest of the family members eat their food.

Gluten or Gluten-Free What’s the Big Fuss

What’s the big deal about gluten? Why has it dominated food adverts in our groceries and stores? Why are there so many articles on various blogs about gluten and gluten free foods? Is it something that you should be bothered with? Is it just another fad passing by and will soon go away? Why are so many people keen on gluten-free diets? Well, today, we want to delve deep into gluten and discuss its significance in diet and whether you should avoid it or not. So, what is gluten?

Gluten

Gluten is a general name for the category of proteins found naturally in wheat, barley, semolina and rye. Gluten helps foods to maintain theirs distinct shape and is used as an adhesive to hold the food particles together. Gluten is found in very many foods because manufactures use it to increase the bulk of those foods and hold and food particles together. This means that gluten can be found in a number of processed foods which don’t naturally have Gluten in them. Manufacturers and food processors will include the gluten intentionally in their processed foods for the sake of bulk and increasing the fiber content. Some processors will open declare the presence of gluten in their foods while others will not let their customers know of the availability of gluten in their processed foods.

Is gluten an essential nutrient?

Gluten, is just a storage protein and is not regarded as essential in our diets. This means that we can do without it. If anything, Gluten is believed to cause some complications in people and this essentially is the cause of all the fuss and talk you are hearing about gluten and gluten-free foods. About 1% of the world’s population, is said to be celiac. These are people who suffer from the celiac disease which is an immune reaction triggered by eating foods containing gluten. A further 10% of the world’s population is said to have gluten sensitivity which triggers certain gastrointestinal distress. These are diseases which were initially prevalent in dogs and gluten-free food was meant for dogs which had food intolerance. Slowly though, some people started realizing that the gluten triggered some form of reactions from their immune systems and that is how the gluten-free foods were born.

Is gluten bad for everyone?

Gluten is not bad for everyone and you should not be concerned if you are not part of the 10 percentile who are either gluten sensitive or suffer from celiac disease. A lot of people are able to eat cereal, breads and grains which contain gluten without any negative reactions. Actually, people have unknowingly been consuming gluten in a lot of foods which are not necessarily grains or cereals. The gluten-free tags and slogans you hear and see on various foods in the grocery stores and in food commercials on television, are just marketing gimmicks meant to attract your attention and make you buy the said products. This however does not mean that you should avoid gluten-free foods. If you are not a celiac and don’t have any form of gluten sensitivity, eating gluten-free foods will not make any difference. It is just the same as eating foods with gluten because the proteins don’t have any significant roles in the diet and are there solely for the sake of increasing the bulk of food and holding it together.

What if I am Celiac or have Gluten intolerance?

On the other hand, if you realize that every time you eat certain breads, grains and cereals your body reacts and you experience symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, irritation of the throat, skin hives, eye irritation and nasal congestion, then you need to desist from eating gluten foods. The symptoms mentioned above are indicative of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Every time you ingest gluten, your body mistakes the protein as an allergen and triggers the production of histamine on the surface of cells. The histamine is responsible for the reactions that you experience when you ingest the gluten.

Is there a cure for gluten intolerance?

Just like all allergic reactions, there is no known cure for the celiac disease and gluten intolerance. This means that the only way to stay clear of the symptoms associated with gluten is to desist from eating foods with gluten. Always check for the gluten-free tag every time you buy food in the grocery store and if you are not sure, ask one of the attendants to help you shop for gluten free foods. There are very many foods which are naturally gluten-free and these are the foods that you should always consume. Foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, eggs and legumes are gluten free and should be part of your diet. On a lighter note, it is important to note that most people end up outgrowing their gluten intolerance and by the time they are adults, their bodies can comfortably stomach gluten without triggering any form of reactions.

Flu Vaccine Can Save Your Child’s Life

As a parent, you want to do what is best for your children. Growing up, one of the best things you can do to your children, is to ensure that they are vaccinated. Vaccinations or immunizations as they are commonly referred to as, is a weakened form of a disease causing microbe which helps the baby’s immunity to equip itself well enough to fend off the real disease causing microbe in case it attacks. Without a vaccine, the baby’s immunity will be caught by surprise the moment the disease sets it and will most of the time be too weak to fend it off. This can easily lead to death or a life limiting condition.

There are very many diseases which require vaccination from an early age. These include polio, tuberculosis, BCG, measles and whooping cough. One of the vaccines which most people often overlook is the flu vaccine. Most parents overlook this vaccine because they deem flu to be a relatively mild disease which is likely to cause little or no damage to the baby at all and this ends up being costly. Flu is just as deadly as the whooping cough or the dreaded measles. Getting your baby the flu vaccine significantly reduces a child’s risk of dying from the disease. That simple flu vaccine, can save your child’s life. Here are reasons why you should always that your child gets the flu vaccine;

The flu vaccine will save your child’s life

Believe it or not, more than 15,000 children die from flu related complications in the United States and more than 150,000 hospitalized each year because of flu. Of the 15,000 children who die from flu, more than 75% are not vaccinated against flu. On average, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 68% of all flu related deaths can be prevented by a flu shot in the early stages of life. The curious fact about flu is that it may not cause any harm in the early stages of life but can turn deathly when an individual is a teenager. There are more than 7,000 reported deaths of teenagers succumbing to flu related complications in America. Of the 7,000, only 17% or so received a flu shot when they were babies. This goes to show that a simple flu shot in the early stages of life can help save your child’s life.

Flu vaccine is safe and highly effective

There are some vaccines which are very controversial and raise eyebrows but this is not the case with the flu vaccine. This is a vaccine that has been declared safe and effective by the scientists. There are no serious side effects related with flu vaccines at all. The only thing your child will have to put up with are the redness and tenderness at the point of injection but this is absolutely normal. The vaccines is equally very effective with a success rate of preventing flu infections hitting close to the 85% mark.

Vaccine will save you a lot of money, time and agony

Giving your child a flu vaccine means that you will be saving yourself a lot of time, money and agony. See, if you don’t get your child a flu shot from an early age, you will be reducing the chances of your child contracting infections. Flu related infections require a lot of treatment and taking care of your child. This means that you will be dedicating a lot of time, effort and finances to treat your child. Sometimes, after spending a lot of time and money trying to treat your child, he/she might not make it and this is one of the most agonizing things in life. Save yourself a lot time, agony and money by taking your child for a flu vaccine. It lasts just a few minutes but will save you a lot!

Protect the future generations

Want to see your grandchildren and have a good time with them? Want the best for the future family generations? Well then, take your child for immunization against flu today! See, vaccines are able to completely eliminate diseases or reduce the severity of infections when properly administered. This was the case with smallpox which was effectively eliminated with the help of vaccines. Flu can be eliminated as well if you oblige to the call of vaccinating your loved one on time.

The next time there is a national announcement for flu vaccination, just make sure that you are among the first parents to get their children given the flu shot. Don’t assume the call to immunize your loved ones against flu or any other disease for that matter. You will be helping save your child’s life and safeguarding the future of your other generations. Be wise, take your children for vaccination today.

Childhood Asthma and the Prepared Parent

According to a recent study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 6 million reported cases of childhood asthma in the US. This goes to show that childhood asthma is a very common disease. This explains why asthma is one of the top 5 most common causes of emergency room visits by children under the age of 15. So, as a parent, you should remain vigilant and ensure that you are equipped with proactive measures to help you protect your child’s well-being and reduce chances of them suffering from asthma. Today, we want to take a deeper look into childhood asthma, symptoms, its causes and how to be prepared as a parent to tackle the menace. So, what is childhood asthma?

Childhood Asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by spams in the bronchi of the lungs making it difficult to breathe. The disease affects your child’s airways and makes them more sensitive to certain triggers. Such triggers include cold, dust, certain perfumes and even pollen from certain flowers. When the inflamed airways come into contact with the triggers, they cause the body to react in a number of ways. The muscles around the walls of the airways might get so tight that breathing becomes very difficult. The lining of the airways may become inflamed and might start to flare up and swell. Alternatively, there might be a buildup of phlegm which narrows the airways and makes it even more difficult to breathe. These are proceeded by chest tightness, wheezing and uncontrollable coughing.

Causes of asthma

There isn’t a clear known cause of asthma but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is believed that asthma is an inherited condition and runs in certain generations. Children in such a family line are more prone to asthma attacks and will react to the various triggers in their environment. These triggers range from cold air, dust, respiratory infections to strong emotions and stress. Children will experience different symptoms when exposed to these triggers. The most common Symptoms of asthma among children include;

Shortness of breath
Chest tightness and pain sometimes
Difficulties sleeping because of shortness of breath and excessive coughing
Wheezing when exhaling. This is a whistling sound in children when they are coughing or just exhaling.

Cure for childhood asthma

Since the exact cause of childhood asthma is not known to date, there is no known cure for asthma in the US. Scientists and doctors are however working on possible routes to help cure the disease. The good news however, is that there are very many safe and effective asthma treatments available to manage asthma in children. Talk to you family doctor for the best treatment option that suits your child and he/she will prescribe the medication that will help supress the symptoms of asthma.

Childhood asthma management and parent preparedness tips

Although it cannot be cured, being knowledgeable and prepared as a parent can help manage the severity of childhood asthma. By preparedness, it means that you should be aware of the exact triggers of the asthma symptoms in your child and strive hard to make sure that your children don’t come into contact with the triggers at all costs.

You should also work closely with your doctor or allergist to determine the perfect medication that will help suppress the symptoms of the asthma in your child. Know the exact type of medication, the specific dosage, when to administer it to the child and how to administer the same to the affected child. Teach the children from an early age as well on how to take the medication and when they should do so. Make the medication accessible to them at all times because you never know when the asthma attacks set in.

Educate your child to stay aware from the triggers when in school or playing. Explain to them the meaning of triggers and the importance of staying away from them. Help them understand what they should do in case they have an asthma attack.

As a parent, make sure that you know of the closest emergency room where you can take your child to in case of an asthma attack. Before travelling with your child, make sure you know of the emergency rooms available in the area you are headed for and this will help you in case of an emergency.

Alert everyone who interacts with the child of their condition. Tell the child’s school and friends that he/she is suffering from asthma and this way, they will know what to do in case of an emergency.

Take your child for regular checkups and even if he/she is not suffering from asthma, get them checked by a qualified physician. This way, you will be sure of their condition and know of the best way to manage their condition.

What is Secondary Drowning?

Secondary Drowning is a term most parents do not recognize. Nor do they understand that it can be fatal to their young children. Secondary drowning is a condition where a small amount of inhaled fluid (such as water) remains in the lung or lungs and irritates the lung(s) and leading to leakage of additional bodily fluids into the lung(s). Often secondary drowning happens when a small child inhales water at the swimming pool – but it can happen in the bathtub too. However, it is not limited to water – it could be milk or juice or other liquid.

In serious cases the small child is experiencing pulmonary edema – a condition where the body actually pushes more fluids into the lung(s). This accumulation of fluids over time reduces the child’s ability to breathe properly and can lead to the child drowning in its bodily fluids – hence the term secondary drowning.

The World Health Organization issued a report about ten years ago that was designed to improve prevention and reporting of drowning. According to the organization, there are six types of drowning and secondary drowning is only one of those.

What are the Symptoms of Secondary Drowning?

After inhaling water or other fluid, the child is:

  • very tired
  • unusual cough
  • unusual behaviour
  • difficulty breathing
  • coughing and wheezing
  • non-responsive

What is the Time Period?

The time period can be short – an hour or two – or up to 3 days. Every situation is different so it is critical that the parents take action if they observe any of the symptoms mentioned earlier. DO NOT PUT THE CHILD IN BED FOR THE NIGHT.

Does Secondary Drowning cause Death?

Yes. And it can happen quickly. There have been numerous cases of parents not recognizing the symptoms and putting their child to bed for the night – and the child never wakes up. If you have any doubts about your child’s condition then it is best to be cautious and take the child to a doctor or emergency room.

And please share you knowledge of secondary drowning with others – especially parents with young children.

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Polio Has Returned

Polio is Back: What This Means for You

Polio is a disease that most medical communities predicted would be completely eradicated by 2014.  In fact, last year there were only about 400 cases worldwide.  Unfortunately, due to poor vaccination policies, this virus is back in action with the World Health Organization recently declaring it “a public health emergency of international concern.”

What is polio?

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a viral infection that causes spinal and neural damage that can lead to breathing problems, nerve damage, paralysis, and possibly death.  This highly contagious disease is most commonly spread through hand-to-mouth contact from feces contaminated water or food.

Only about 5% of those infected will have severe symptoms, but the other 95% become carriers of the disease, which has no cure, but is completely preventable through vaccination.

Who is affected?

Up until last year, the disease had been virtually wiped out with Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria being the major exceptions.  Unfortunately, the poor sanitation found in these war-torn countries, along with weak vaccination policies, has made them susceptible as a breeding ground for the virus.

Other countries, such as Afghanistan and China who are now getting instances of polio, have tracked them back to travelers who were not properly vaccinated. Children and the elderly, who are typically the most vulnerable of the population, are also the ones most affected by the recent polio outbreak.

What steps need to be taken?

Since much of the world was vaccinated when they were young, there is very little in the way of individual prevention now – since the polio vaccination does not require a booster later in life.  Because of this, most healthy adults don’t need to take further action against polio if they will not be traveling internationally.

However, in an extreme action to reclaim 25 years of work against polio, WHO is now mandating that international travelers of all ages need to be vaccinated if they will be leaving the Middle East or Central Africa and carry proof of vaccination with them while out of the country.  They also recommend that anyone going to these areas get a preemptive vaccination.

With worldwide prevention cooperation, polio can once again get back on track for full global eradication.

Questions about insurance?

Babysitter Emergency Documents

(Adult) Babysitter Emergency Documents

Getting time away from the kids for a romantic night on the town, a ballgame with friends, or a short vacation is often a rare and momentous occasion for parents.  As exciting as these opportunities can be, leaving your kids alone with a babysitter may also be an equal source of anxiety.  Although everything will probably go smoothly, providing your sitter with the proper instructions and emergency documents can help alleviate any nervousness about emergency situations, even for brand new parents.
To start, a good emergency packet for your sitter needs to have the basics.  Make sure to include:

  • You and your partner’s contact information – Full names, cell phone numbers, home number, and work number
  • Where you’ll be heading with contact information
  • Your full home address, including the cross streets
  • Local emergency phone numbers for the police, fire department, poison control, hospital,  and pediatrician
  • Contact information for a trustworthy neighbor
  • Each child’s full name and age
  • A full medical checklist for each child including food allergies, illnesses, medication, potential medical problems
  • Emergency items locations such as the fire extinguisher, flashlight, candles, circuit breakers, water shut off and first aid kit
  • Rules the kids are expected to follow like bedtimes, friends, and chores

In order to make sure that your babysitter’s emergency documentation is complete, you’ll want to make ensure that you have a “consent to treat” form or healthcare authorization for your children.  These forms will give permission for your children to be under the (adult) babysitter’s care and to act on your behalf in the event of an emergency.  Many also have a place for the kid’s medical history so that all of the information is in one place.  Templates of these forms as well as the checklist above are readily available to print from the internet.

Common Reasons people visit an ER

What are Growing Pains?

Everyone knows that growing up and getting older is tough, but for some kids it can literally be painful.  Many children – and as a result their parents – find themselves being woken up in the middle of the night with unexplainable pain in their legs and lower body.  This occurrence is commonly called ‘growing pains’, but is this an actual condition or just a popular television show from the 80s?

What are growing pains?

Growing pains are a recognized and studied syndrome.  They are defined as the neuralgic pain that occurs in the extremities and limbs of some children.  The technical term for this condition is ‘noninflammatory pain syndrome’, but the phrase ‘growing pains’ first appeared in a French doctor’s journal in 1823 and has stuck ever since.

Typically, children will begin to experience pain in their legs from five years old until their early teens (at the latest).  The throbbing will usually occur in both legs although not necessarily at the same time, every time.

What causes growing pains?

Since its initial labeling in 1823, doctors and researchers have discovered that contrary to what the name suggests, the discomfort actually has little to do with rapid growth since about a quarter of an average human’s growth occurs primarily in puberty.

Although there is still some speculation on the exact cause of growing pains, once of the most basic explanations is that it’s simply a result of over activity in combination with a low pain threshold.  Every child develops differently and their bodies are still learning to adapt to handles stress.  Because of this, children with varying activity levels can be affected differently than their peers.

A more conclusive theory to explain growing pains is that it’s related to overall joint and musculoskeletal health.  For instance, one trial found that double-jointed kids are more likely to suffer from growing pains.  Children who have flat feet are also more prone to have these problems.

Is it possible to fix growing pains?

While there’s no magic pill to fix growing pains, there are many ways to reduce the discomfort.  To help prevent them from occurring, regular stretching of the entire lower body has shown to be useful.

Additionally, to treat any symptoms, heat and light massage can be applied to the area.  For more extreme pain, ibuprofen or aspirin can be administered.

Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough in Texas

Whooping Cough (pertussis) is making a comeback and that is not good for you or your community. Whooping Cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. Usually a person with whooping cough will have a severe hacking cough that is followed by a “whoop” sound when inhaling.

Whooping Cough can affect people of all ages but the most vulnerable are infants because they are too young to receive a complete series of vaccinations and their immune systems are immature. Infants are also at risk for other complications such as pneumonia and encephalopathy (disease of the brain). Many infants that become infected with this bacterial infection get it from those who are closest – parents, brothers and sisters, and other caregivers that may have Whooping Cough and not know it.

Why is Whooping Cough Making a Comeback?

The primary reason is the increasing number of non-vaccinated people. A majority of adults (61%) do not know if they have received a vaccination for whooping cough. Although most adults have received a Whooping Cough vaccination during their childhoods, they are in need of a booster shot to retain their immunity.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of Whooping Cough can resemble the common cold and many people don’t develop the high-pitched “whoop” sound during inhalation. Sometimes the most prominent characteristic is a persistent hacking cough. The symptoms usually take one to three weeks to appear after one is infected. Generally the first symptoms are relatively mild and include:

  • Dry Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Mild Fever

About a week or two after the first symptoms appear they will worsen and other symptoms will appear. Persistent coughing attacks are caused by a thick mucus accumulation inside the lungs’ airways. These new symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • A Red or Blue Face
  • A “Whoop” sound during inhalation

Why is Whooping Cough Important?

First, Whooping Cough can be and is deadly for some young children and infants. Second, Whooping Cough is highly contagious, that is, it can spread easily within human populations. Third, in 2012 the United States had the highest number of Whooping Cough cases in 50 years. This implies that the overall population is not receiving the suggested vaccinations and boosters.

Bath Salts and Your Teenager

“Bath Salts” is a common street name used for a new class of synthetic drugs. They have no relation to the scented products that are used in a bathtub. Other street names that have been used are “Vanilla Sky,” “White Snow,” and “Purple Wave.” These drugs are extremely dangerous because of their users’ extreme reactions to the drugs and their unknown long-term effects.

Until recently these drugs were legally sold using one of several loop-holes, such as labeling the product “Not for Human Consumption” and selling them as plant food or jewelry cleaner. Plus these drugs were not well known and not specifically outlawed. Many teenagers feel/felt these drugs are/were safe because it were sold legally. Most states have outlawed this class of drugs but it is still being sold underground.

Teenagers are using these drugs because these are perceived to be safer than other well known stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine. “Bath salts” are stimulants and they make users feel more alert and increase energy levels, partly by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. These “bath salts” can be snorted, smoked, or mixed with water and injected into a vein. Usually the effects of “bath salts” last 4 to 6 hours.

Why are “Bath Salts” so Dangerous?

First, a user never knows exactly what he or she is putting into their body. Usually bath salts contain the chemicals methylone, mephedrone, and/or 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). However, chemical tests and law enforcement estimates suggest there may be more than 100 different chemicals used in the production of “bath salts.” So the user never knows which chemical or chemicals are entering his or her body.

Second, “bath salts” cause extreme agitation and users’ reactions can be highly unpredictable. One doctor has described it as taking a combination of cocaine, meth, and LSD at the same time. It can be potentially life threatening and numerous deaths have been attributed to “bath salts.”

Any of the following “Bath Salts” side-effects can cause Death

  • severe agitation
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • combative behavior
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • elevated heart rate
  • elevated blood pressure
  • increased body temperature
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • suicidal behavior

Third, “bath salts” can be addictive and can cause permanent changes in the brain. Too little is known about these drugs but chronic users are at high risk.

Fourth, this is a very dangerous drug and most hospital ERs and laboratories are not equipped to detect synthetic drugs such as “bath salts.” If a patient arrives at an emergency room and denies using the drugs or is unconscious then there is only so much the ER doctor can do.

Parents, if you notice unusual signs of agitation, paranoia, combative behavior, or any of the side-effects mentioned above, call 911 or take him / her to an emergency room immediately.

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