A WIRRAL teenager died from a lethal allergic reaction to a takeaway meal, an inquest was told.

17-year-old Christopher Smith, from Wallasey, had a severe nut allergy and went into anaphylactic shock after just one mouthful of food.

An inquest into his death held on Thursday at Wallasey Town Hall was told that on February 4, Christopher began to eat a meal of chicken in OK sauce with rice, chips and prawn crackers.

Coroner’s officer Donald Johnston said Christopher had eaten the meal from the same restaurant before without any problems.

Mr Johnston said: “Christopher was diagnosed with a severe nut allergy when he was three years old.

"His family were told he should never have Indian food because of its contents.

"They were not told he could not have Chinese meals but he was never given one because of its contents such as satay and cashew nuts.

“His mum Kathryn told me that he had chosen the meal himself as he had apparently done several times previously both at that establishment and others.

"He had reportedly never been to a Chinese restaurant and the only Chinese meals he ate were those prepared and cooked by Kathryn so she knew what was being used.”

But Christopher’s father, Mike Smith, challenged the evidence given.

He said that the family in fact had been told Christopher should always avoid Chinese dishes.

The hearing learned that as Christopher began to have trouble breathing, Mrs Smith called for an ambulance and offered him his EpiPen, an injection to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, but he told her “I don’t want it or need it,” and instead took Piriton syrup and his inhaler.

Christopher was able to walk to the ambulance but once inside, his condition deteriorated and Mrs Smith, who is a trained nurse, asked medics if she could assist them.

As paramedics struggled to treat him, Mrs Smith was told to give him a large dose of adrenalin into his upper right arm.

Christopher, who was studying for A-levels at St Anselm’s College, went into cardiac arrest on the way to Arrowe Park Hospital and resuscitation attempts failed.

A post-mortem examination revealed cause of death as anaphylactic shock from peanut allergy and asthma.

Dr Jo McPartland, who carried out the post-mortem at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, said Christopher’s asthma would have increased the chances of a reaction being fatal.

She said: “Christopher’s history of asthma meant he had a much greater risk of dying when exposed to the allergen than those who do not suffer with the condition. I would agree that this is a natural cause of death.”

Wirral coroner Christopher Johnson recorded a verdict death was from natural causes. He extended his sincere sympathies to the whole family for their sad loss in such tragic circumstances.

Christopher's mother paid tribute to her “bright” son and told how her family were in “deep shock.”

More than 600 mourners had attended the keen scientist's funeral at Sacred Heart The Cross church, in Moreton, where brother Matt, 21, gave a moving eulogy.

Food advice from Anaphylaxis Campaign

The Anaphylaxis Campaign, a national registered charity, was set up in 1994 following the deaths of four people from allergic reactions to nuts.

The campaign provides support and information to the growing number of people at risk from life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), particularly to foods, including peanut allergy.

Peanuts can turn up under the names groundnuts, earth nuts and monkey nuts.

It is important to read food labels thoroughly, even if you are buying a product you have eaten before. Recipes do sometimes change.

Check both the inner and outer wrapping of multi-packs.

Foods most likely to contain peanuts or tree nuts include:

Satay sauce, curries, Chinese, Thai or Indonesian dishes.

Cakes, biscuits, pastries, ice-cream, desserts.

Cereal bars, confectionery.

Vegetarian products such as veggie burgers.

Salads and salad dressings.

Marzipan and praline (confectionery products made with nuts).

Salad dressings may contain unrefined nut oils.

The above list is not exhaustive.

Foods sold in restaurants and other catering outlets, or at in-store bakery and delicatessen counters, are generally unlabelled and so pose a particular problem.

It's important to be direct with staff, pointing out the seriousness of the allergy.

If staff cannot guarantee that any dish is safe, it is best to eat elsewhere.

For more information go online to www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/ by clicking the link below.