ELECTRIC shocks are normally avoidable unless you’re an electrician but sometimes we all get random shocks from seemingly nothing.
These annoying little electric shocks can happen at any time from shutting car doors to hugging a friend, so why do we get them?
Why do I keep getting electric shocks when I touch things?
We’ve all had that slightly embarrassing zap moment when we reach out to shake someone’s hand.
Or maybe you go to open a car door and a tiny jolt of electricity shoots through your body.
Sometimes you will even hear a clicking noise or your hair will stand on its ends.
The phenomenon is known as a static electricity shock.
It can be dangerous as it is still an electric charge, although most of the time it is minor.
It happens when excessive electrical charge builds up on your clothing or other materials such as metal.
Some fabrics like nylon might be more prone to shocks than others.
What causes static electricity?
The science behind static electricity is simple – atoms are made up from protons, electrons and neutrons.
When an atom has a balanced number of protons and electrons there is a neutral charge.
If these are not balanced, the atoms with extra electrons will lose them to negatively charged atoms.
This fast loss of electrons is what gives you your electric shock.
Static shocks are more common when it’s cold and dry as it is harder for the charge to run into the air without moisture.
Instead it builds up on our bodies.
So, when you touch something like a metal doorknob or car door, those extra electrons will rapidly leave your body and give you the shock.
How to stop getting electric shocks
There are lots of things that can cause an electric shock and sometimes they really are just unavoidable.
However simple tricks can reduce your chance of being zapped.
Moisture is key so in the winter you can use a humidifier to prevent the charge building up.
If you find you’re being shocked in one particular room you can spray the carpet or rugs with anti-static chemicals and rub dryer sheets on your upholstery.
Outside of the home, make sure you stay moisturised, this will help lessen the static.
Rubber soled shoes, wool clothes and synthetic fibres like nylon and polyester are all culprits for electric shocks.
If you don’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe, you can add baking soda to your laundry as this creates a barrier to stop charge accumulating.