By The Examiner staff

The Community Blood Center and the American Red Cross said today blood is urgently needed.

Donations have fallen sharply in recent weeks because of the cold weather, widespread flu and the holidays. The Red Cross says those factors have forced it to cancel hundreds of blood drives in Missouri and Illinois, and the CBC says supplies are so low it’s been unable to respond to requests for help on the East Coast following the recent severe weather there.

The CBC has a facility in Blue Springs that’s open every day, along with several other metro area facilities. It takes donations of whole blood, red blood cells and platelets.

The need for all types of blood is high, but platelets as well as types O negative, B negative and AB are in particular demand. One person in 13 is O negative; that blood can be given to anyone and is used in trauma situations. Platelets are in high demand for patients in chemotherapy.

Here’s how to give:

Call the CBC at 877-468-6844 or go to savealife.org. The Blue Springs facility is at 1124 West U.S. 40 and is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Donors are asked to make an appointment.

CBC blood drives also are listed at savealife.org. You or your organization, such as company or church, can host a blood drive.

Call the Red Cross at 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767), or go to redcrossblood.org, or download the Red Cross blood app.

The Red Cross has several upcoming blood drives:

• 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 18 at ReeceNichols Lakewood, 5000 N.E. Lakewood, Lee’s Summit.

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at Bass Pro Shops, 18001 Bass Pro Drive, Independence.

• Noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 25 at John Knox Village, 1001 N.W. Chipman Road, Lee’s Summit.

• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Spirit Zone Booster Club, 1160 Century Drive, Lee’s Summit.

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at Saint Luke’s East Hospital, 100 N.W. Saint Luke’s Blvd., Lee’s Summit.

Donors in Missouri must be 16 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. Giving whole blood takes less than an hour, the CBC says. It supplies dozens of hospitals in the area and says it needs 500 donations every weekday.