Her rep says the veteran TV star, who will turn 91 next Thursday, is sick but on the upswing

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 11, 2013 03:30 PM
Kevin Winter/Getty

Get-well wishes are due everybody’s favorite TV star Betty White.

“Betty has the flu and is on the mend,” her rep tells PEOPLE, though no further details are available.

The news of White’s health comes three days after the debut of the second season of her NBC comedy reality series Betty White’s Off Their Rockers and less than a week before her 91st birthday next Thursday.

A birthday special has been taped by NBC, but so far no air date has been announced.

The star of such sitcoms as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland told PEOPLE last August that the key to her longevity is her diet: “Hot dogs and Red Vines and potato chips and French fries are my favorite foods.”

But she also exercises. “I have a two-story house and a very bad memory,” she said. “I’m up and down those stairs all the time.”

Still, the flu is no joke.

Currently, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, tells CNN, “We are into what would classically be described as a flu epidemic.” Twenty-four states and New York City were reporting high levels of flu activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also according to CNN, “There have been 20 deaths of people under the age of 18 since the flu outbreak began. While the CDC does not count the number of adult deaths related to the flu, some states do, and that data suggests dozens have died.”

Additional reporting by MONICA RIZZO