Stay healthy: Typical travel illnesses - Common Cold

As Munich is in the heart of Western Europe, you don’t have to fear diseases like you’re going to Africa or the Amazonas. You don’t need specific vaccinations or such things. But of course also in Munich you can catch a cold, get a headache or may encounter insect bites which may give you a hard time when you have an allergy. So here I want to explain what you can encounter as traveller in Munich.

Common Cold

Colds are probably the most common travel sickness that a tourist can get. Colds are infections of the body and primarily the nose, caused by viruses or bacteria that can cause the symptoms known to everyone, such as coughing, stuffy nose, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, hoarseness and fever.

Usually a cold begins with fatigue, a sore throat, sometimes headache, followed by a couple of days with a runny nose, cough and a feeling of being chilled or even fever.


Usually a common cold lasts up to ten days with a peak on day two and three after the first symptoms. Unfortunately, a cold can last up to three weeks. So when you’re planning a trip to Munich, and only have one or two weeks you shuld try to avoid a cold at all costs to enjoy your trip.

Risk of catching a cold in Munich during the Year

Very high risk
Very high risk (esp. carnival)
High risk
Medium risk
low risk
low risk
low risk
low risk
High risk (esp. Oktoberfest)
Medium risk
High risk
Very high risk (esp. Christmas Markets)

How to Avoid

As it is quite easy to catch a cold especially during the winter season, as a traveller you should avoid large crowds like festivals (Oktoberfest, Christmas Markets, packed public transport) or flights. Where lot’s of people come toghether, you are usually exposed to viruses and bacteria.
But as a tourist, you somehow come for such events and you can’t sometimes avoid a flight.

To be honest you can’t really avoid a common cold. But you can try to boost your immune system. Additionally you can take some precautions to minimize the
chance of getting a cold.
Here are my five tips for avoiding a cold when on route to Munich:

1. Two weeks before your flight or departure to Munich, begin to eat helathy. Lots of vegetables, less fast food and less sweets.
2. Additionally get some vitamins from your local pharmacy. Also supermarkets sell immune booster products.
3. Fly long-haul like a pro: Have a scarf, thick socks, an additional jacket, and long trousers with you or in your hand luggage.
Trust me, no matter how hot it is in Munich or at your home destination. After four hours at 18 C /64 F you will feel chilled. The chance to catch a cold is now very high.
4. Avoid ice cold beverages three days before and three days after your journey to Munich.
5. Wash your hands regularly. Also have hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.

What to do against a cold

It is best to avoid activities that are strenuous for the body. In any case, sports, strenuous walks and unfavourable weather conditions (rain, snowfall) should be avoided.

What to do if you have a cold:

– Avoid cold drinks and drink many warm drinks (especially teas).
– Get additional vitamin boosts. Vitamin C is very important for colds.
– Pack a travel-first-aid kit with cold medications.
– Take cold medication. If you don’t know what to take, contact a pharmacy.

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