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Secret Shame Dept.     

The Lice Lady

by Guy Martin January 28, 2002

"Mrs. Rosenfeld is well known to the city's public- and private-school nurses, who, after sending lice-ridden children home, pass her phone number on to the shocked, enraged, or embarrassed parents of the infested.She always takes them in.

"People get desperate and do crazy things," Mrs. Rosenfeld explained one recent Sunday afternoon at her home. "........If you want to get a job done, you got to be gentle."

"Mrs. Rosenfeld doesn't discuss the identities of her clients or the institutions in which they contract lice, but infestations are common in the city's public and private schools. A pernicious recent outbreak among fifth and sixth graders at one well-regarded Brooklyn school is thought to have been advanced during a pillow fight at a Cobble Hill sleepover last November. Although the identity of that Patient Zero remains in dispute, a number of the invitees became Rosenfeld clients."

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SUCH A NITPICKER B'klyn mom's a pro at ridding families of lice


“MOST PEOPLE get criticized for nitpicking. Abigail Rosenfeld gets paid for it.”

“The Brooklyn mom is known far and wide as the Lice Lady - an expert that freaked-out parents consult after expensive shampoos, mayonnaise, kerosene and even Raid have failed to chase the bugs from their kids' heads.”

"She's a miracle worker," said writer Sean Elder”

"I know a woman, she gave her three girls crew cuts," she said. "A man came in once and said, 'My wife just sprayed their heads with Raid.' "

Prescription shampoos are too caustic and often useless against the new super-strains of lice, she claims. Home remedies like margarine and kerosene are downright bizarre.

"I tell people, you're dealing with an insect - why are you trying to kill your kid?" she said.

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Parent-2-Parent: The Myths Of Lice

It's Embarrassing, But Not Especially Dangerous

by Cindy Hsu

"Instead of trying the over-the-counter lice shampoos, which are very strong and can take a lot of treatments, the Murphys went to Brooklyn to see Abigail Rosenfeld also known as the "Lice Lady."

"Rosenfeld has been removing the little bugs for more than 20 years"

"The problem is worse than ever, she said, because people are embarrassed and keep the problem a secret."

"If your child has lice, it's important to share that information with people your child comes in contact with at school and at home, including their playmates".

"If you get it, don't panic. It's not a disease. It's not something that's dangerous. I think the shampoos might be more dangerous than the bugs themselves. They cause a lot of stress -- that's what they cause," Rosenfeld said."

© MMV, CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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A Child Grows In Brooklyn

Lice Lady of Brooklyn  Posted by Karen

"Lice Lady of Brooklyn" is not what I would choose as my nickname, but Abigail Rosenfeld has earned it. She has been treating the Lice laden youths of Brooklyn for over 20 years. She even travels throughout the tristate area to treat infested heads. Her treatment is a combination of a special nit comb, conditioner, baking soda and her experience."

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Disney Family

By Nancy Pick

"Twenty years ago, clinical trials showed that nearly 100 percent of adult and juvenile lice were killed by shampooing with permethrin (in Nix) and pyrethrins (in Rid)."

"Since then, however, lice have evolved. They've gotten tougher. Technically speaking, it's incorrect to say that the insecticides have caused lice to toughen up. Rather, some lice randomly mutate in a way that provides resistance to insecticides, and the mutants are the ones that survive, says John Clark, a professor of toxicology who studies lice at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. "If one of these mutations leads to insensitivity so that the compound no longer kills the individual," he says, "then that individual becomes resistant. It survives, reproduces, and then that mutation is basically fixed in the population." Survival of the fittest."

"The truth is that when I used an insecticide the first time, I was helping select for a stronger louse. Any lice that survived my son's treatment may have had a mutation that made them harder to kill the next time."

The Head Nitpicker

"Fortunately, there's a better way, as demonstrated by Abigail Rosenfeld, a professional nitpicker extraordinaire who was profiled in The New Yorker several years ago as "The Lice Lady." Rosenfeld, who lives in Brooklyn and started picking nits for her family and friends when she was 13, sums up her simple method this way:

"Rosenfeld offered to share her technique because she is a kind person, someone who radiates compassion, exactly the woman you'd want to go to if your head or your child's were crawling with insects. Quite simply, she loves children. Rosenfeld, an Orthodox Jew, has 13 of them. Her youngest is 2, and her oldest, at 22, is married with a child of her own."

"Miriam says she was happy with the results. "Abby removed all of the lice and nits, educated us on what to do at home, and most importantly, gave me the confidence and tools to continue the difficult treatment..."    

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The Lice Lady
"My son’s scalp was pink and tender from nit-picking.  My own head felt prickly by association and despite the school nurse’s assurance that I was clean, I felt just the opposite."

'For 20 years, she’s been dispensing lice advice and keeping Brooklyn kids nit-free, one head at a time. “The Lice Lady,” she said, laughing. “That’s what they call me.”

'A mother of 13 (her youngest is one), she started fighting the good fight when a local teacher told her about a child who had missed three weeks of school because she had severe head lice. Rosenfeld said cleaned the child up and sent her back to her school where the school nurse nearly fell over in amazement. She said the nurse had never seen a child with such a head teeming with critters cleaned up so quickly."

She pooh-poohs the home remedies as ridiculous. “They’re just making a mess with their kids and themselves. It’s not pleasant for anyone,” said Rosenfeld.

Nor does she recommend over the counter or prescription medicated shampoos. Her theory: if they’re not safe for pregnant women, babies or small children, they’re probably poison.

Posted on March 06, 2007 - by Mary MacRae Warren

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Bug thug
It starts mysteriously, with a sudden head-scratching habit, followed by the dreaded call from a school nurse announcing a rampant case of head lice (a.k.a. pediculosis). Even veteran moms panic when faced with removing these creepy crawlers from their kids’ heads. But the bugs don’t faze Abigail Rosenfeld, self-proclaimed “Lice Lady” of Brookyn. Rosenfeld, the proud mom of 13 children ages one to 21 (wow!), travels to homes in the tristate area to rid kids of lice—without chemicals and usually within an hour. Her secret: baking soda, conditioner and a fancy European comb that effectively separates the varmints from the scalp.

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