Barbara Walters' Chicken Pox Diagnosis

Dr. Richard Besser discusses the seriousness of the illness for adults.
1:59 | 01/29/13

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Transcript for Barbara Walters' Chicken Pox Diagnosis
All right, now to a story about our colleague, barbara walters. She was hospitalized ten days ago after a fall. And she's recovering just fine from that. But now, we learned that she has contracted the chickenpox. Her colleague, whoopi ldberg delivered the news on "the view." Barbara has the chickenpox. Yeah. What? Apparently, she's never had it as a child. That's right. Never had it as a child. That's a key here. Abc's health and medical editor, dr. Richard besser, is here. And you say anyone over 25 who has never had it, probably has never been vaccinated and could get it. We think of this as a mild childhood illness. But in adults, there's a greater risk of having complications from the chickenpox and they are at risk. They can get things like pneumonia, bacterial infections. Inflammation of the brain. And there's a group of adults, we think of it as rare. But almost 30,000 adults every year get the chickenpox. Those that missed out on vaccination. And those that missed out when everyone was getting chickenpox and was exposed. What should you do if you're an adult and you never had the chickenpox? Should you get the vaccine? If you're in that group and know you didn't have the chickenpox, see a doctor. They can do a blood test to see if you had the chickenpox. Or they can just give you the vaccine. More importantly, as you get older, you're at risk of shingles. The same virus that causes chickenpox comes out in another part of your body. Once you hit 60, the vaccine for that can cut your risk in half. And shingles can be extraordinarily painful. And for some reason it's on the rise in this country. It is on the rise. That started before we were using chickenpox vaccine. But getting that vaccine will cut down your chances. Even if you get shingles, it will be a milder case than even if you haven't been vaccinated. Barbara is doing well. Thank you for that. I had the chickenpox, 8 years old. It was like ten days. Even worse when you're an adult. No question about it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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