It’s a shocking side effect of cold weather.
At this time of year, people are more likely to receive static electric shocks.
People have been taking to social media to complain about receiving loads of little jolts, suggesting it’s the fault of everything from cheap suits to new carpets.
But there’s a logical explanation.
You’re more likely to get static shocks at this time of year at this time of year, particularly when it’s cold and dry.
Curious. Has anyone else in London noticed more static electricity shocks over the past few months?
— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) February 25, 2018
The problem is caused because dry, cold air holds less water vapour than warmer summer air.
High levels of water vapour allow the electrical charge that builds up on our body to pass into the air.
But when the air is cold and dry, it’s not as easy for the charge to run into the air so it builds up on our bodies.
Then, when you touch something like a metal doorknob, the charge will rapidly leave your body and give you a shock.
Luckily, there are several things you can do.
Writing for the Weather Network, meteorologist Scott Sutherland said: ‘Remember that the spark is caused by too much charge buildup. So, try touching metal objects more often, to discharge the buildup of electrons sooner, before you get enough gathering to cause a spark.
‘As a last resort, carry around a metal object, like a coin or your house key, and touch the doorknob, faucet or light switch with that first. It won’t prevent the spark from jumping, but it will prevent it from jumping from your fingers, which will at least keep you from feeling the pain.’
You could also try installing a humidifier in your house to raise the level of water vapour in the air or even wear cotton rather than wool or artificial fibres.