Tips to stay warm while tailgating for the national championship game

Rodrigo Blankenship: Two field goals, 6 for 6 on critical extra points. Javon Wims: 6 catches for 73 yards, plus key blocks. Mecole Hardman: 76 yards in returns and 15 receiving yards. Tae Crowder: Snagged squib kick in one of game’s big plays. Tyler Clark (52): 2 sacks, 5 tackles. Christian Payne (47): Blocked for tailbacks plus strong special teams play. Terry Godwin: 5 catches for 51 yards plus several blocks. Isaiah Wynn: Offensive line opened holes for 317 yards rushing. Safety J.R. Reed (20): 7 ta

The National Championship tournament between the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs and No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide is almost here, and it’s going to be a nippy one for tailgaters.

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While there’s a lot of fun to be had, make sure you’re taking proper precautions when stepping outside. Here are a few tips to keep warm during the wintry temperatures.

Layer your clothing.

You may be tempted to ditch your winter gear to show off your paraphernalia, but wear appropriate clothing. This should include "a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket with inner layers of light, warm clothing," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests. And don't forget the essential accessories. Don't leave home without your mittens, hats, scarves and boots.

Take cover under tents.

Protect yourself from the brisk winds by shielding yourself under tents, canopies or awnings. Those can be barriers from rain and snow. Don’t forget to anchor your portable shelter to keep it from blowing away.

Beware of frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite could be a serious concern. It’s an injury to the skin and body tissues caused by extreme cold, and symptoms can include cold skin, numbness and waxy-looking complexion. Be aware of hypothermia, too. It occurs when the body reaches an abnormally or dangerously low temperature. People generally experience shivering, slurred speech and slow or shallow breathing.

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Alcohol can mask the frigidity.

If you believe booze will warm you up, think again. It can actually cause your body to lose the heat it needs, which can increase your risk for hypothermia, the CDC says. Why do you feel hot while drinking? Your blood vessels dilate and send warm blood away from your core and to your skin. While it's a temporary effect, it could prevent your body from fighting off the chill.

Consume hot drinks and foods.

While an ice cold beer pairs well with an exciting game, consider packing warmer drinks for the day. Throw some hot chocolate, tea or coffee in your bag. You can cook chili and soup beforehand, reheating it in a crockpot when you make it to your destination.

Bring your own heat.

Use portable heaters, which usually have several temperature settings to choose from. The devices will keep you toasty, and they are easy to move about your space. While some require a standard outlet, others are fueled by kerosene or gas. The CDC advises that you do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire (such as clothing), and never cover your space heater. Also, if it's a kerosene heater, make sure you allow for adequate ventilation.

Keep it moving.

Stay active while you’re outdoors. Participate in activities, such as throwing the football around or playing games like cornhole and ladder toss. This will help keep your body temperature up.

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