Savvy Tips Guru

Salmonella vs. E. coli: Differences of Each Foodborne Illness

E. coli or Salmonella

E. coli and salmonella are types of bacteria that can make you sick if you eat contaminated food. They can give you symptoms like throwing up and having diarrhea, which usually go away on their own in about a week. But if you still feel sick after that, you should see a doctor right away. So, in the Salmonella vs. E. coli debate, it’s important to figure out which bacteria you have so you can treat it correctly.

What is E. coli?

E. coli (short for Escherichia coli) is a germ that usually stays in your belly and in the bellies of animals too. Most E. coli don’t make you sick, but some types can if they get into your food or water. You might get sick from these bad types of E. coli if you touch animals or people who have them.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bunch of germs that often make people sick from eating tainted food. It’s commonly found in raw chicken, eggs, beef, and sometimes dirty fruits and veggies. You can even get it from touching certain pets.

E. coli and Salmonella Symptoms

Because bacteria are the cause of both E. coli and Salmonella, they both make you sick with similar symptoms. You might not have all the symptoms, and there are some differences between the two. Usually, you’ll start feeling sick all of a sudden after you get infected.

E.coli coli signs and Symptoms

When you get sick from E. coli, it usually happens around two to five days after you’ve eaten something with the bad bacteria in it. Sometimes, people can have E. coli and not feel sick, but they can still pass it on to others.

If you do feel sick from E. coli, you might have:

  • Feeling like you’re going to throw up?
  • Bad stomach pains
  • Diarrhea that’s watery or has blood in it
  • Feeling tired
  • Having a fever

Salmonella Signs and Symptoms

Salmonella can make you feel sick soon after eating contaminated food, sometimes within six hours. But other times, it might take up to six days before you notice you’re sick. It usually lasts about four days to a week.

When you have salmonella, you might have:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Belly cramps
  • Headaches
  • Feeling like you’re going to throw up, throwing up, or not wanting to eat

If you have these signs, it’s important to see a doctor right away:

  • Diarrhea and a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Diarrhea that keeps going for more than three days
  • Blood in your poop
  • Throwing up a lot
  • Signs of dehydration, like not peeing, having a dry mouth, feeling dizzy when you stand up

Main Difference Between E. coli and Salmonella: Causes

E. coli and Salmonella have different reasons for making you sick. Some types of E. coli are okay, but others can make you sick. Meanwhile, salmonella is always harmful and can be in certain foods or pets.

Causes of E. coli

E. coli can be in water, food, dirt, or on things touched by poop. Even if someone doesn’t feel sick, they can still pass E. coli to others. You might get E. coli by:

  • Eating food that has bacteria, like burgers that aren’t cooked enough or raw veggies
  • Drinking milk, juice, or cider that hasn’t been treated to kill germs
  • Swallowing water from places like lakes, rivers, or pools where it’s contaminated
  • Being near animals or pets that have E. coli
  • Touching things with E. coli on them, then putting your hands in your mouth
  • Not washing your hands after using the bathroom and then eating something

Causes of Salmonella

Salmonella lives in the guts of animals, like birds. You usually get it from eating food with poop on it. Typhoid fever is caused by a special type of salmonella that only people have, and you can get it from dirty water or food. You might also catch salmonella from:

  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fruits and veggies that haven’t been washed

Diagnosing E coli. and Salmonella

To know if a person has E. coli or Salmonella, seeking a healthcare professional is a must. Most cases of E. coli and salmonella infections often go unreported because they usually get better within a week. But if you go to the doctor because you think you have food poisoning, they’ll test a bit of your poop to know exactly what’s making you sick. This helps stop more people from getting sick.

If you have really bad symptoms like the ones we talked about earlier, call your doctor right away. They’ll do tests to find out what kind of bacteria is in your poop, which helps health workers know how to stop the sickness from spreading. Since E. coli and salmonella make you feel similar, your doctor will send your poop to a lab to find out which one you have.

Treatment Options for E. coli and Salmonella

If you catch E. coli or salmonella, you’ll usually get better on your own in about four to seven days without needing special treatment. But if it’s really bad, your doctor will decide what’s best for you based on how sick you are, how old you are, and how healthy you are overall. If you have really bad diarrhea, you might need to get fluids through a tube in your vein.

It’s important to drink lots of liquids. Doctors usually don’t use antibiotics to treat E. coli or salmonella, except if the infection is really serious and spreads into your bloodstream, which needs quick antibiotic treatment.

Knowing Salmonella vs. E. coli Differences for Your Safety

If you think you have E. coli or salmonella, see a doctor. These bacteria can make you sick, but treatment can help. Watch for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. If you have severe symptoms or they last a long time, don’t wait; get medical help fast. And remember, wash your hands well and cook your food properly to prevent getting sick in the first place. Stay healthy and safe!


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.