Flying this winter? Be sure to pack my guide on how to…TRAVEL THE FRIENDLY SKIES WITHOUT GETTING SICK!

The holidays are just around the corner——and if you’re traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you know the pros and cons.

On the “pro” side, someone else is doing the cooking. Even better, someone else is doing the CLEANING.

On the “con” side, you’ve got to battle holiday crowds. And if you’re flying, you can expect to be treated like a sardine crammed into a flying tin can.

But the worst part isn’t the tight quarters, with tiny seats made for stick-figure butts... it’s not the rapidly disappearing legroom... it’s not?the bellyachin’ brat in row 23... and it’s not even the guy behind you who keeps ramming your seat with his knees or the guy in front who’s leaning?back so far he’s in your lap.

No, it’s the closed air system in the cabin——aka the Airline Germ?Delivery System.

Someone sneezes in first class, and by the end of the flight his germs will have made a stop in every row on the plane. One study found germs are 100 times more likely to spread on a flight than on land.

Where’s the fun in that? It’s enough to make you want to stay home! You want to see your family and friends. And you definitely don’t want to miss out on that delicious holiday meal.

So you’re left with two options.

One is to wear one of those yellow CDC moonsuits. But you’ll get some startled looks... and someone might even call security.

So I recommend option two, and that’s to give your immune system something better than a moonsuit. It’s a suit of armor that can protect you from the bugs that cause the traveler’s cold. And it’s invisible so no one will call a TSA goon to give you a “special screening.”

Don an invisible suit of germ-proof armor using my...


Elderberry: I know this is the punch line from an old “Monty Python” bit, but there’s no joke about the virus-killing benefits of elderberry extract.

In one study over the summer, travelers given elderberry extract before flying spent fewer days sick and had fewer symptoms.

The study used just 300 mg of extract, but in other studies 1,200 mg proved to be even more effective.

Sleep: You need your rest whether you’re flying or not. And you especially need it before you’re exposed to the Airline Germ Delivery System.

One study tracked the sleep of 164 men and women for a week. Then, researchers used a real clinical germ delivery system by shoving the virus into each volunteer’s nose with a medicine dropper.

Despite the fact that everyone was exposed, not everyone got sick.

Folks who slept less than six hours were more than 400 percent more likely to catch that cold than those who got seven hours or more.

Echinacea: This is an old standby for fighting colds, and for good reason: It works.

But it doesn’t just help cure the common cold. It can also help you avoid it, cutting your risk of catching it by 58 percent according to one study. Combine it with some vitamin C, and you could slash your risk of a cold by?as much as 86 percent.

As a bonus, combining elderberry with Echinacea has shown to be as effective as Tamiflu against flu, but without the potential nasty side effects.

Zinc: Here’s another one folks often turn to once they already have a cold. But take zinc supplements during cold season——or before flying——and you can help prevent the cold in the first place.

One analysis of two studies, involving more than 1,500 patients combined, finds folks who take zinc supplements suffer 40 percent fewer colds than those taking a placebo.

Just don’t go crazy with zinc; too much can be as bad as too little.

Vitamin D: You already know the sunshine vitamin is a proven flu-beater that’s up to 800 percent more effective than the flu shot. But it can also do something no vaccine in the world can claim: It can beat the common cold!

A study in Japan on kids in school——the one place colds spread even faster than on a plane——found that children given 1,200 mg of vitamin D were three times less likely to get a cold.

These five natural immune boosters can help you to step off your next holiday flight without bringing along some unexpected and unwanted germy baggage. But don’t forget to grab a bottle or two of quality booze from the gift shop on your way.

It is the holidays, after all.

Your pilot for today,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

PS——Don't forget your probiotics! Around 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. And good gut bugs can help fight off the bad ones. In fact, one study out of New Zealand found that athletes that took a probiotic had 40 percent fewer colds than their peers who got a placebo.