Singer-songwriter Prince passed away on Thursday in his Minnesota home at the age of 57, following reports that he had been suffering from the flu in the past few days.

While it remains uncertain what exactly caused the pop superstar's death, doctors said it wouldn't be surprising if his passing was connected to his recent respiratory infection.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, an expert on infectious diseases from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said that many people tend to underestimate how life-threatening the flu can be.

Most of the time, people who contract the flu are either very young or very old, which could be why it's difficult for some to even think about the disease in terms of a 57-year-old, such as in the case of Prince.

Adalja, however, warned that under certain circumstances, it is still possible for a person to die because of influenza.

People At Higher Risk From Influenza

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any person can contract influenza, even those who are considered healthy.

People from any age group can also develop serious problems related to the disease, but there are those who are at a higher risk of experiencing complications than others. This includes young children, pregnant women and people who are 65 years old and beyond.

Those who suffer from chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, are also more susceptible to the flu.

Symptoms Of The Flu

If a person contracts influenza, he or she will experience one or more of the following symptoms:

1. Headaches

2. Cough

3. Runny or stuffy nose

4. Sore throat

5. Tiredness or fatigue

6. Muscle aches

7. Fever

It is important to note that not every person infected with the disease will have a fever. Diarrhea and vomiting are also symptoms of the flu, but they are more common in young children than adult patients.

Influenza Complications

Influenza sufferers recover from the infection on their own typically within two weeks. However, some patients can develop complications as a result of the disease, which could lead to life-threatening conditions. Examples of these flu complications include ear and sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Those who have chronic health problems, such as asthma and congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of their condition as a result of the flu.

Treatment For The Flu

People with influenza often experience only mild symptoms of the illness, which do not require antiviral drugs or immediate medical care. Doctors typically advise sufferers to stay home and avoid coming into contact with other people until they make a full recovery.

However, if a person shows symptoms of influenza and he or she belongs to a high risk group, or is very sick, it is advisable to go see a doctor to receive proper treatment. This could include being prescribed to take medications such as antiviral drugs.

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