I read the following post in this forum. This is exactly the type of itch I get. It is not always present. I have actually gone for about two months with no itching at all. Now I am awake at 4:30am with such intense burning itch just under my skin. I cannot itch it better, but this is what my skin screams for. I feel like I could take a knife and cut off the top of my skin so that I can get to the actual itch.
I wonder if it is stress related in any way. I don't have any "known" stresses at this moment, but maybe there is something. It has been about one hour now and the burning is subsiding a bit.
Any help on this would be great.
by peepot, Jan 23, 2004 12:00AM
help!!! FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS I HAVE HAD AN ITCHY RASH ON MY FOREARMS. ONLY ON FOREARMS. IT BEGINS AS AN INTENSE STINGING AND BURNING ITCH ALMOST AS IF SOMETHING IS DEEP DOWN UNDER SKIN AND IS EATING OR STINGING ME. IT JUMPS BACK AND FORTH FROM LEFT TO RIGHT ARM OFF AND ON. NO CREAMS OR OINTMENTS RELIEVE ITCH. THE ONLY THING THAT ARRESTS THE ITCH IS AN ICE PACK. THE ITCH IS ALMOST ALWAYS WORSE LATE IN THE DAY AND AT NIGHT. I WORK FOR A PHYSICIAN AND SOMETIMES (no joke) A DIFFICULT PATIENT OR STRESSFULL SITUATION WILL START THE BURNING ITCH. I HAVE A SCABBY FOREARM RIGHT NOW FROM SCRATCHING SEVERELY 2 DAYS AGO DURING THE EXAMINATION OF A VERY DIFFICULT PATIENT. I HAVE BEEN TO A DERMATOLOGIST AND TRIED VARIOUS OINTMENTS AND CREAMS. IS THIS A FORM OF ECZEMA OR SOMETHING PSYCHOLOGICAL?? i NEED HELP, I AM SCARRING UP MY FOREARMS. PLEASE SOMEONE RESPOND.
Differentials in your case will be atopic dermatitis, an allergic dermatitis , contact dermatitis and an allergic reaction to some unknown trigger.
Dermatitis or eczema usually presents with a reddish rash which may be weeping or excoriated due to frequent scratching.Border of the rash is not well demarcated and there are tiny vesicles or lesions containing fluid in the involved area.
As this is usually aggravated by excessive emotions and also noted to usually occur at night,stress and hormones may be involved here.
Are you taking any form of medications?
Are the topical medication effective?
Oral antihistamine at bed time may be able to help.This may be a form of hypersensitvity reaction and determining the possible triggers may be difficult but essential.So continue to observe any food, event,conditions or activities that may cause the itchiness.An allergic skin test may help.
I have had this same stinging itchy for a couple of years now. Occurs off and on, I have noticed stress/nerves is when mine usually occurs. It can make you climb the walls..... I am like you , the only relief is to apply ice. I have not gone to a Dematologist, we just do not have a good one in our area. But I have searched for answers. I also notice anytime I am in "direct hot sunlight" it will also start . I am wondering if it is somekind of "skincancers" because I can feel many little bumps, not rash like . But if you ever have it you can not sit or lie still, It is the most uncomfortable stinging itching feeling I have ever had, and I am 55 years old. I did go in the sun an awful lot as a teenager and now am wondering if it could be related to .... Wow, I wished someone had an answer..... And the bad thing, you just never know when it is gonna strike .
I also have this burning, stinging itch under my skin. I hadn't had it in almost a year and out of the blue, it returned. It is always on my arms, always either upper of lower, never both at the same time and always one arm, never both at the same time. I do not know of any stress that I would have to make it come back. I do not have any allergies. An ice-pack is the only thing that helps at all. I am desperate to find out what this is and what causes it!! It can make a person want to climb the wall, it is very painful.
I have similar symptoms - forearms only, possibly sun related as it has consistently come up every mid august. Interestingly enough, it started one year after I was playing with a young (but large) dog. I was teaching it to stop mouthing, tempting it with my forearms and then correcting the behaviour. He never bit hard, and learned, but I was always curious if this may have initiated some form of perennial infection or allergy as it comes back around the same time each year and lasts for a very annoying month. Is that more likely just coincidence with the likely problem being sun related? I seem to be suffering from allergies around this time of year more intensely than I ever have (actually, I never did until about 5 years ago)
I really think this stinging itch is "sun related" because once the summer heat is gone and fall and winter is here I never have it. I usually starts about in June through August or September. But I just feel going to the Dr. would be a waste of time and money, he would only be guessing just like we are . Mine will not even be bothering me and in the middle of the night, sound asleep, will wake me up stinging, and have to get up and apply ice to get it to stop ... Drives you crazy...
I really dont think it is a "perennial infection", but I bet there is a name for it, and hopefully a cure for it ...
I have the exact same thing on my forearms. Sunlight has aggravated it several times over the years. I would only get it occasionally in the summer months once or twice in sevearl years. I thought it was caused by the Sun, but a holiday in Cuba never brought it on. Finally this summer I have narrowed it down to an allergy to Cherries. I had Cherries for three or four days and it appeared, usually worse at night. I stopped eating cherries and it went away. Finally today I ate a bowl of them (fresh with pitts) and have had a few tingles, indigestion and horrific gas. I would bet that many are suffering an allergy that they need to identify.
I have had the itch described - on forearms and now on upper arm - left side. Doctors have declared it stress reaction - but I really wonder. Have you heard of other food triggers? I have wondered about caffeine - since I drink more coffee when stressed, I have thought this could be a trigger. Or at least exacerbate it.
I have tried ointments - Aveeno seems to work the best, but not a big improvement. As mentioned ice packs are a real relief - but it's a bit hard to go out and about with a gallon size bag of crushed ice strapped to my forearm. (I will say that 7-eleven stores have been great about letting me get free crushed ice when I am away from home, I just fill my ziplock baggie and am on the road again:)
I am experimenting with oral antihistamines now - but so far can't tell if anything is working. The sporadic nature of the itch makes it hard to tell if it is subsiding because of medication or just going away on its own for a while. It is so irritating, and really does limit activity to a degree - because it is so embarrassing to be clawing my arm when out with friends, or working. Feels like I am wearing fiberglass insulation on my arm.
I am willing to try anything that someone has found that works.
Thanks for the advice,
I visited this website about a year ago and was surprised at how many people suffer from this problem of 'itchy' forearms (usually only one arm at a time). The description of how terrible the itch was exactly matched my symptoms - my doctor was no help (creams etc., didn't help) - he couldn't get past the fact that it only seemed to appear on one arm and might sometime later come on the other forearm. It was not logical to him. I was sent to a specialist and he said I should cover up and stay out of the sun - I concluded that he should follow his own advice but at least he didn't have to pay me an exorbitant fee from my useless thoughts.
Anyway, I seem to have stumbled on the cause (at least for me) by accident - I stopped buying multi-grain bread and have not eaten any for sometime and the itching stopped. To test my theory, I purchased a loaf after 6 months of NO itching and it came back again the same day I had eaten the bread. I don't know what grain or what ingredient is causing the problem but the multi-grain bread (9 grain in this case) is the culprit. Now I think back to when it first started to affect me I realise that it was at the same time I started on what I thought was a healthy choice of bread. Try this solution - I swear it has worked for me even though I have not isolated the ingredient or grain causing the problem. I no longer get the itch - thank God!
I can't believe this. This was my first stop in trying to figure out what was wrong with me and I am so surprised that you guys describe all my symptoms to a tee!!!! I was thinking that it was caused from stress or some type of allergy. It feels so great knowing I'm not alone!!!!
I am so relieved, not the itching and burning, however to know that I am not alone. It is horrible, especially in the middle of the night and all I can do it pinch my arms hard to make that pain more tolerable than the burning/itching. I hope someone posts a remedy or possible triggers, I was given steroids with the onset of a rash that the doctor said was my immune system fighting off an infection. I had Roid Rage and it was worse than the burning and itching! Help!
I really thought it was just me, and here I am reading that other people have the exact same problem...itching under the skin is sending me crazy..I even thought it was some form of cancer..I will try the ice pack and the oral antihistamine at night too....
Iv'e gone through all the annoying itching that only occurs on my forearms and usually at night when ur tring to sleep! I'm 30 years old and have been going through this for about 4 years. I don't think its sun related because it has happened even though i work in doors from when the sun rises and sets by the time i'm done. I noticed that it happens when i eat more sugar than normal. I think it could also have something to do with the preservitives we consume without even knowing it. I also notice that SOMETIMES the itchyness is accompanied with a tiny bump here and there, not a "rash" but a little bump thats the same color as ur skin (not red) kind of like a raised pore. it has gotten bad enough that Ive even burned the areas that were the most itchy. well It could be related to stress cause my mom passed with cancer about 4 years ago. It might also be from the sun cause i am from Hawaii. GEEEZZZEEE!!! I have no idea! well all thats left is i'm allergic to penicillin.... someone please respond...Mahalo
Have this same itch. Comes on once a year on left forearm usually in the fall.. Gold Bond no joy, hydrocortizone no joy, moisturizing lotion no joy. Hot rinse no joy cold water = relief, but not practical. Just took (~ 1 hr ago) 5 different anti-histamines and no joy.
Hi guys.. well you guessed it i have the same itch.burning itching stinging feeling under the skin,feels like something is biting 'n' you can't get to it..I tried all sorts of creams 'n' lotions,even went to the Doctor 'n' tried the creams he suggested,but yeah nothing worked..actually i have the itch atm..on my right arm,'n' sometimes get it on the left...Anyway i have been using something for years now that i found by accident 'n' it works for me..Colloidal Silver..I wish i had some on me now cause i can't sleep because of it..Any how give it a go like i said it works for me...
Wow I have been suffering with this and did not want to go to the Doctor and appear crazy. "Doc my arms itch really really bad". Sounds stupid. Hard to describe, its under the skin like nerves fireing and scratching it makes it worse. Funny how we all found the ice on our own. The ice works. I have frozen gel packs that I even sewed straps on to bind it to my arm at night so I can sleep.
I started having an intense feeling of almost non stop itching, burning, almost like no-see-ums where on my arm from the elbow down to my wrist on my left arm,, but ironically not on the underside, I thought it was from going to the pool just days before, or maybe the tanning spray, or maybe just dry skin, so just like we all do, I used lotion, with no relief, than cortizone, you name it, I used it for almost two weeks, some gave very temporary relief, if any at all. The craziest part about it was I did not have a actual rash, or bumbs, other than where I had scratched myself causing bleeding or somewhat welts, that I eventually scrathed off, I was going MAD, I thought I was anyways, I was taking Benadryl tabs at night just to help me sleep a little, but it was having its side effects after 5 days,,,,,then my husband started thinking I was "going a little coo-koo" ,,,,, till this morning. I was up all night last night, it has been almost three weeks that this has been going on, it has even gotten worse, the sensation of constant itching, burning, complete discomfort not to mention, just embarrissing and uncontrollable, like a dog with BAD fleas,,, I had my fill, I told my husband I was going to the hospital, he gave me a look and said "c'mon babe, what is going on, it cant be that bad", I BROKE, I started balling, after all, no sleep, now I am starting to wonder, am I going crazy?? But it is soooo real, it is so terrible, I guess he realized right then, this is serious, after all, I have given birth to 4 kids, had my share of kidney stones, and I would like to think I am a tough cookie, but this was taking me for a loop. My husband got on the computer, he found " Brachioradial Pruritus ", after many other conditions that did not fit the discription, he looked at me and said, "hey babe, this is what you have, it is exactly what you said,, this is it". At first I said, no,, I dont think I have a pinched nerve in my cervical spine, but then he pointed out I had 3 epidurals, so then again, never know, but then we realized it may just be from prolonged damage to the nerves of the skin from sun or UV rays, I have had my share of sun being in Florida, but never the less, it is damaged nerves sending bad singnals, the sensation of bites or prickles, maybe even resembles shards of tiny glass all over,,, then burning (due to itching mainly), itching does make it worse, it is only damaging it more not to mention your are damaging your skin for no releif or real reason,,, SO DONT ITCH!!! I went and grabbed a big bag of broccali out of the freezer,, ahhhh wow, what releif, for the first time in 3 weeks, but then after it wore off I was on the porch, the fan was on, I noticed the air making it come back rapidly,,, so I went and got something to cover my arm, IT WORKED, I tricked my nerves, a shirt somewhat tight fitting helps incredibly, I just woke up from a nap, without Benadryl!!! I still feel a bit of stingy, tingling sensations, but I will not give into it, the nerves need to reprogram, so no sun, less air as possible, de-imflamatory, mind over matter, do not let your damaged nerves trick you, after a shower or when it gets too much, cold pak or ice pack, dry your arm while its still a little numb and cover it again,,, I am sooo happy I know know what is going on and my mind can now function as needed before it got too out of hand,, hope this helps!!!!
I'm yet another person searching the net for answers to the same, exact symptoms that you are all describing: an episode of intense itching and stinging on my wrist, with a small whitish bump about an inch and a half higher up the wrist; scratching it just made it worse, but I couldn't help it, and also tried squeezing the area and pulling the hair upwards for relief. I assumed it was either an insect bite, food allergy, or contact with a stinging toxic plant, like nettles. Got relief by taking two benadryls and spraying the area with spray benadryl. I had a similar attack on both ankles about a month ago that almost made me crazy before the benadryl kicked in. I'm with the guy who determined multigrain bread was the culprit - what specific ingredient could it be in the bread or food? Could it simply be gluten?
Yep, got it too. I've had mine for roughly ten years now and have found ice to be the only true alleviation as well. Mine is located mid forearm to just above the elbow and switches from arm to arm or both at the same time which is rather annoying. I have learned to just kind of deal with it, even as I write this I feel the left arm wanting to punish me tonight but I will not give it the satisfaction. I go a couple of months with no symptoms and then will have the all hating burning itch for a few weeks. All the dermatologist I have seen have no idea what it is or causes it. Its definitely not the zoster virus. I am leaning towards the BRP approach especially because I too live in a sunny place and partake in several outdoor activities but it is definitely more than just that. I don't necessarily believe stress brings the onset but probably doesn't help. What I find striking is even when I tend to be indoors more often it will still happen. This current bout has been occurring throughout the day instead of just at night. We have all been exposed to some common denominator and maybe someday we'll know. For the time being we at least know we aren't alone. Rest well my ice pack loving friends.
I have had this for sometime and I too find it most unbearable when it flares up. After years of dealing with it I have found that a combination of 20mg or Zyrtec (10mg in the morning and 10mg in the evening) and a non steroidal cream (I use Atopiclair - prescription) is most helpful...in combination of course with the ever popular ice packs.
When I have an "episode" I immediately use and ice pack to calm the nerves and numb the area. I then use the Atopiclair and it seems to help.
I don't let the sun hit my arms..even in the car I cover my arms with a towel or COTTON sheath. I stay away from long hot showers or any kind of clothing (wool) that could irritate my arms.
I believe stress IS a factor (conscious or unconscious) becaust the whole "mind over matter" thing seems to help. DO NOT SCRATCH!!!
I sleep in a cooler than normal room (like 72 degrees) as well and that offers help at night.
i also have the same thing it hurts stings and itches so bad i hae to scratch till its raw and then the next few days its sore and nasty sores i have scares from where i have scratched so much mine is on the top of my for arms and it will be the left on then moths later it was my right one my wifes ******* at me for doing it but i tel her i cant help it it hurts and burns if u all fins a cure find me one fb at hank allmand and send me a request i would like to har from some of u thanks
I am 55 also and for about a year now I have had exactly same thing.I have ignored it for a year. Because I had thought it was caused by cement dust.And decided it would maybe go away. it hasn't. I have really healthy skin everywhere else. Just this itchy rash on both forearms just 2" below the elbows.Exactly same place each arm around 2inches big. They come and go. But after stress and dogs My resistance to scratching them breaks down
Mine started in 2004 after a DIY poject cutting / laying porcelain floor tiles for the first - and last time!. I cut the tiles out in the strong Florida sun on our condo balcony. I was covered in tile and grout dust from shoulders to fingertips as well as face and neck. A few months later this maddening itch started and it was all down my arms from shoulder to lower wrist. I also had itch on eyebrows and ear lobes occasionally. Like others on here, I thought that the sun may trigger it but it strikes in any season and anywhere - we spend five summer months in Scotland and split other seven months between Georgia and Florida.
The itch has geatly subsided from everywhere but my right forearm where it continues to cause sleepless nights with icepacks the only relief. Not all the time but several times a week - enough to wreck havoc with my well being from lack of sleep. I have also tried just about every cream - including prescriptions - with only brief, temporary success at best. I did visit a dermotologist some years ago and had full range of allergy tests with no conclusive reults.
At least we all know that we, 'the icepack people', are not alone ...
I have had this same thing for several years. My Dr. went to far as to test for mrsa. Nothing helped and one summer my arms were covered in sores with this tingling, stabbing itch that would not stop. I purchased a prodect called Stapho-septic, it did the trick, I haven't had an issue for 3 yrs.
WOW...i had the exact same experience....it's multi-grain breads, and cookies that cause my forearm itch...also certain breads from restaurants trigger it. But YEAH, folks, the problem comes from certain breads and cookies...I get the problem bad with Kashi multi-grain low calory cookies!!
I started getting this intense, burning itch on my neck and arms about 30 years ago following a summer in the Red Rock area of New Mexico during my post grad work. The burning was so intense that I would bang my arms against the wall in an attempt to alter my perception of the pain....yea, stupid idea. No topical ointments have ever worked. I have not had this itch for almost 15 years....and then, bam ! It hit yesterday, first week of agust. Only relief is from ice packs.....wakes me up at night, so I get a Baggie of ice and wait for the numbing....and hopefully, asleep by that time. As a working pianist, can be very difficult to focus at times. Ice is my only friend...well, and my wife, of course. Seems to hit most often in August.....rather strange. I have not found any organism that has this type of dormancy cycle. Dermatologists ? Better luck with a Deep South doctor lady shaking a bag of bones....
Am I the only one here who has been diagnosed with Lupus in her skin, who also has this itchy arm problem..? I also have eczema. I just assumed the itchy arms were something to do with the Lupus.. guess not.
It's a pinched nerve in the back up high in the shoulder blades. Dig in with you hand hard and ice it. Ice your arm for relief and stretch. I know it's horrible like a thousand ants biting your foreams...
I have had this condition for about four years now and it is almost unbearable at times making me scratch until my arms bleed. It feels like something is stinging my forearms and upper arms sometimes even going to my shoulders but nowhere else. I have tried every anti-itch medication on the market, cream for psoriasis, antihistamines and even went so far as to wash my arms in water with a splash of bleach (thinking that maybe I had picked up some weird bacterial infection overseas). Nothing worked! My doctor gave me a cream for scabies and in hopeful desperation, I tried it too. No help! Finally I ran across a site online where someone talked about having the same infuriating itch. The solution he recommended was using Capzasin Cream, an ointment usually used for muscle aches that contains capsaicin (an extra of hot peppers). I tried it and within a minute or two my arms started feeling warm (like I had a slight sunburn) and the itch went away. I was able to sleep all night with no itch and reapplying the Capzasin the next day gave me a full day of no itching! It was glorious! I know just how frustrating this condition can be and it seems that few doctors know what causes it (although it does have a name Brachioradial Pruritus) and even if diagnosed with the disease, there are few medications that can relieve the intense itching. The Capzasin was the answer for me. I hope that this helps someone else and can give you relief! I apply the Capzasin with a cotton ball so that it doesn’t get on my hands (where you can transfer the pepper heat to anything else that you touch, like your eyes) and then put on a long sleeve shirt so that the cream on my arms doesn’t transfer to my sheets and pillow.
Have the exact same symptoms which started a couple of years ago. Doesn't just occur after sun exposure. Like all others here I tried all sorts of creams and sprays. A combination of Benadryl and Zantac works for me, plus massaging in some Monistat cream (yes, THAT Monistat cream). My son who's in med school says it could very possibly be related to a pinched nerve in the back. Good luck to all with remedies.
I still don't know what my irritating, under the skin itch is either, but what works for me anytime during the day or night is to apply liquid witch hazel(bought in a plastic 12 oz. bottle in Dollar General) on a cotton ball and move the wet cotton ball all over the irritated skin. It gives a cooling effect to your skin similar to the ice packs yet no mess. It dries within a minute or so. Can take it with you wherever you go if necessary - just buy a small bottle somewhere like Dollar Tree and pour some witch hazel in it and carry a cotton ball with you when going somewhere. Witch hazel is an astringent which makes the irritation literally "suck up" as in poison ivy or poison oak(good applications for these, too. I use this in the summer when I get poison ivy. Cheap and works well) I have had this skin problem on my left forearm from my wrist up to my elbow for about 17 years now. If anyone has any other remedies that are permanent or come across the real cause of this problem, please do post it here. Thanks and God bless.
Great Forum!!! I just turned 56 this week and developed these exact symptoms that you guys are all talking about. It started about 4 weeks ago. I was working in my yard and hit a yellow-jacket bee hive under a pile of old leaves and I got stung a few times. The worse reaction I had was from a sting on my right forearm. My arm swelled up pretty bad making me look a bit like Popeye. It took a couple of weeks for the swelling to go down, but ever since that time I have had this same "come and go" burning itch on that forearm.
I do not have a rash or bumps or anything like that, just that unbearable itch. Mine also seems to get stirred up by things like "wind from a fan," or "working in the sun," but it seems to be the worse in the evening when I get into the bed. So, before bed I take one Benedryl tablet and that seems to help.....and the ceiling fan that I usually sleep under HAS to be turned off.
I'm thankful for this forum for two reasons. One, it was great to hear that so many other people are experiencing the exact same thing that I am, and I am not alone (although I hope you have all found ways to deal with it, and I would not wish this on anyone). Also, you have given me some great remedy ideas to try, and probably saved me a lot of medical co-pays that would have been a waste of time and money. For that, I thank you.
If it is related to Herpes it WILL be helped by hi doses of lysine at the time of 1st feeling of itch. You can take a daialy does to fend off but some think you can get immune to it's helpful affects at outbreak doing that.
Hi every one!
I too have all of the fallowing symptoms, From what I have found on the internet, we may be all suffering from Varicella Zoster Virus. The Virus in some cases attacks parts of are nervous system, causing us to react this way to our arms. You can read more here in this link http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/varicella.html
sorry I couldn't figure out the hyperlink.
I'm going to talk to my doctor about this and see if i can get vaccinated for it (CHICKEN POX). When i fond out what the verdict is and the outcome from it I will defiantly tell all of you.
My arms have itched for one year and finally went to dermatologist and after 2 weeks the itching is GONE. Here is what she did
1. Gave me a prescription for a steroid called MGP Clobetasol Propionate Topical Solution USP 0.05% Use this on affected areas once in morning and once at night for TWO weeks only, not longer
2. Follow up with heavy application of CeraVe cream and then cover creamed area with Aquaphor (got at WalMart) or vasoline to keep moisture in
Can do both creams as many times as you like, I did it at least 3-4 times for the first week
3. Took 1 Benadryl 25 mg (generic ok) each night for 4 weeks
4. Take one Zyrtek (generic Ok I have CVS allergy relief pill) every morning
For 4 weeks
I was taken off all pills except prescription pills this included vitamins, flaxseed, fish oil, sleep pills. Etc
Told to stay out of sun or wear shirt on arms. It's been 2 weeks and my arms no longer itch I know it was the steroid liquid that did the trick plus the heavy cream/vasoline application that I did 2-3 times a day
I have read the comments on this site and just had to join in! I also suffer from this itchy arm issue (elbow to wrist).
Someone described it like a load of red ants biting - I can def relate to that!
It gets really bad late evening and bedtime when I have been driven nuts by the itch and had to get up to apply various creams/potions!
This problem has affected both my arms, but my right forearm seems to be worse affected. I actually have 4 - 5 spots which bled after scratching.
Thing is, this started quite recently (within 3 to 4 months). Due to this, I am pretty much aware of the changes or issues in my life. So fingers crossed this will help other folks. In no particular order:
a) I stopped smoking cigarettes (yay!). I presently use a vaporiser, low nicotine. 4 months stopped.
b) I started HRT (hormone replacement treatment) in tablet form, daily.
c) I used a sun-bed (24 minutes over a 6 week period). Don't normally do sunbeds
d) I eat mixed grain bread and white bread - more recently, multi/mixed grain
e) I have major stress / anxiety / upset in my life. My 22 year old daughter has turned against me and stopped me from seeing my 2 grandchildren. This has been like a bereavement to me. I am not myself at all at the moment!
There you have it - my potential causes.
I have tried Witch Hazel and TCP - both separately and together!!
I have also used egg white, chilled in the fridge. Applied with cotton pads or tissue. This can only be kept/used for 3 days.
All seem to help temporarily. If itchy arm persists, doctor next. Will let you know the result.
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