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Why many Kenyans are experiencing slight shock when touching cars, doors, other objects

Many Kenyans were quick to reveal that they had experienced this strange phenomenon, with others saying that they suspected something wrong with their bodies.

Young woman opening the car door. Credit: Fotostorm

A number of Kenyans have revealed that they have been experiencing a slight electric shock on their fingers while opening metallic car doors or metallic doors at home.

In a series of posts on Twitter, many Kenyans have said that they have been pondering on the surprising phenomenon, after touching metallic objects or other materials that can conduct electricity.

The conversation started when Central Bank of Kenya Head of Communications Wallace Kantai took to Twitter to explain the effect of the increasingly hot weather in the country.

You may have noticed that you’re encountering static electricity quite often recently. Touch something and you hear and feel that startling bzzt! It’s not your imagination. The air is exceptionally dry and dusty. You’re also more susceptible to nosebleeds and dry eyes,” he said in a tweet.


Many citizens were quick to reply that they had experienced the said phenomena, with others saying that they suspected something wrong with their bodies.

Shockingly, I've seen this quite often. Once, when passing on an item to my daughter and every time I closed the car doors, I even thought my car had an issue but realized it happened in two different users I used,” James Obuya said.

I've actually experienced static electricity a lot and I've thought I'm hallucinating...and I've had a nosebleed too!” added Kevin Wanambisi.

And here I am, thought I wasn't okay. Feels good when you know you are not the only one experiencing stuff. Kwanza my car had me thinking otherwise,” Ruth Nyaga said, affirming what many Kenyans have been experiencing.


According to scientists, static electricity is the result of an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material.

The body can become charged due to friction between clothing and skin, as well as walking on synthetic carpeting or other insulating materials.


When you sit in a chair the contact between your clothes and the chair can generate a lot of electrostatic charge on your clothes. While you stay in contact with the chair your body voltage stays low.

If you lean forward so your back moves away from the chair back, or if you get up out of the chair, then you take the electrostatic charge with you. Your body voltage can rise very rapidly to a high voltage as the charge is separated from its opposite charge on the chair,” reads a safety document from the University of Birmingham, UK.

This static charge can be transferred to other objects, creating a spark or shock when it discharges.

Hot weather exacerbates the problem of static electricity on the body because it causes the air to become drier.


This dry air increases the likelihood of static charge buildup, making it easier for sparks to occur.

If the humidity falls below 40%, it increases the chances of static electricity building up.

According to, a website that tracks weather conditions over time, Nairobi’s humidity has fallen from an average of 54% in January to 40% at the beginning of February.


In addition, hot weather can cause the skin to become more sensitive, making shocks feel more intense.

The average temperature went up from an average of 21°C in January to 24°C in February.

To avoid the effects of static electricity, it is important to reduce the amount of friction between clothing and skin.


This can be done by wearing natural fibre clothing, such as cotton or linen, which are less likely to generate static charges.

Additionally, using a moisturizing lotion on the skin can help reduce static electricity buildup by increasing the humidity of the skin.

Another way to use a humidifier which helps balance the humidity in your home and prevent the chances of charges building up.

Plants naturally release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration. This can also help to increase the humidity levels in your home.


Cooking and boiling water can also add moisture to the air. When you cook or boil water, the steam can escape into the air and help increase the humidity levels in your house.


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